I've had to make some small talk recently. I'm not a huge fan. For me, there's a difference between small talk and get-to-know-you talk. Get-to-know-you talk reflects real investment from both conversational partners. It tends to move more freely, with follow-up questions prompted by sincere interest, even if the conversation stays within safe, conventional parameters.
Small talk is what happens when I am thrown together with someone who has no interest in talking to me, and we simply make noise in order to pass time with less awkwardness.
What if I'm not interested in talking to said person? Well, that very seldom happens. I like people a lot. Almost every person is interesting, if she will open up and talk about her true self and things she really cares about. I can only think of three scenarios that make me not want to talk to a person: 1) she doesn't want to talk to me; 2)I'm in a terrific hurry; or 3)the person is a man I don't know well who is violating my conversational comfort zone in some way. (Married folk, I don't think I have to explain this one to you. We all know the subtle types of behavior that indicate lack of respect for boundaries. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I shut down and get out of Dodge.)
What do you think? How do you define small talk? Dislike it? Like it? Neutral? Why?