The three kinds of talk

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The other day, while trying to explain my introversion to a friend, I realised that there are three kinds of talk:
  1. Social talk
  2. Routine talk
  3. Real talk

Social talk is the endless jibber jabber most of us engage in everyday. It is the conversation that flows at parties and large dinners. It is a life-saver when you meet someone new and if you are no good at it, well, you'll end up hemming and hawing your way through awkward 10-second encounters, the way I usually do.

Not all social talk is shallow, though I wish that were true. It is the art of presenting one's knowledge in topics of mass interest - such as films, television, fashion, music and food - in the most entertaining way possible. I have found that sadly, literature is rarely a topic of mass interest. Nor is analysis about why we think the way we do and the mysteries of the universe. Little wonder that social talk is far from my area of expertise.

But if you can master this art to the extent that it comes naturally to you, (most often this process takes place as we grow up but some of us manage to get through it without much socialising and pay for the omission later) then you are guaranteed help from folks whenever you need it, and usually, success at a faster pace than the the ones who aren't adept at it.

Routine talk is what we practise with family and the people we live with. How was your day? What shall we have for dinner? When will you reach home? Is your cold better? You get the drill. Far from being boring, routine talk is a great source of comfort for most of us. When it comes to people we love, the mere exchange of words is a pleasure - even if those words are nothing monumental.

Now in the digital age, a strange phenomenon is taking place. Routine talk is being exchanged with complete strangers thanks to chat and messaging services. But as long as it serves the same purpose - that of reassuring you, making you feel that the mundane details of your life matter and you are not all alone, I think it's absolutely fine.

But real talk is where the magic of communication resides. These are the long, heart-to-heart conversations one recalls even years down the line. Real talk heals, inspires and rejuvenates. And it is with only a select few that we can indulge in them. I would put any conversation with some 'substance' in the realm of real talk. And I believe this is indispensable for one's happiness. One can survive without social and routine talk but real talk? That's non-negotiable. And cultivating relationships with people with whom we can enjoy this privilege, is an effort one has to be willing to make (note to self).

One observation that came up in my conversation with the aforementioned friend is that a lot of talk does not make one an extrovert. If most of your talk consists of social prattle, then you may be as closed up as an introvert who barely speaks. True extroverts are those who feel comfortable sharing intimate details of their life with all their friends. Then again, may be the definition of 'extrovert' is broader than that.

In conclusion, the things we say are a disorderly combination of the consequential and the inconsequential. Too much of the former and you're broody. Too much of the latter and you're shallow. Just the right balance of both - and you're the friend who's always in demand. Me? I'm happy with my pointless theorizing. :P