Thursday, July 29, 2010

Impromptu Speaking

im·promp·tu (m-prmpt, -ty)
1. Prompted by the occasion rather than being planned in advance.
2. Spoken, performed, done, or composed with little or no preparation; extemporaneous: a few impromptu remarks. See Synonyms at extemporaneous.
With little or no preparation; extemporaneously.

I was sitting in my living room with a friend, and she asked if I knew a certain woman who lives in our community. I told her I did know her, and she then proceeded to explain that she saw this woman the other day and tried to make small be friendly. It's not that these two knew each other extensively, but as in most small towns, it's hard to go places without seeing someone you know, even if it's just because your kid went to the same preschool or something small like that.

My friend said that this woman did not seem interested in small talk, and at the earliest convenience, she turned and walked in the other direction. This interaction led me to three conclusions:

1. This woman is rude.
2. This woman had too much on her mind and wasn't in the small talk frame-of-mind.
3. This woman is bad at impromptu speaking.

Which led me to think about myself and how I would speak in a similar situation. I would like to think that I can handle this kind of situation and wouldn't dodge someone because we notice each other. Generally I can come up with something. Sometimes it's specific, "How's that new baby?!" and sometimes it's broad, "Wow, it was a hot one today!" If the person continues on, I will, too. I can keep it short or go with whatever seems to fit the situation.

Maybe I'm just good at impromptu speaking in those circumstances?

If I'm in a hurry, scatterbrained, or don't feel like talking, I will usually still try to say something general enough to let the person know that I saw them and at least say, "Hey, have a good day!"

What about you? Do you find these situations awkward? Do you think it matters? Do you like making small talk, or would you rather turn the other way?


Sarah said...

Hi, I'm stopping by from New Friend Friday @ The Girl Creative!

I'm an outgoing person, so I find it easy to make conversation with new people. Others I know find a situation like that more difficult. So I guess they would fit into the 3rd category you listed.

Have a good night :)


Mrs. Haid said...

I love small talk. I never feel awkward, unless its someone married to someone I dated or a former student that I didn't like in class. Even then I can come up with a few one liners.

My husband may have reacted just the same way. He doesn't always care to stop and chat, especially if its unexpected and unnecessary. He isn't unfriendly... he is just off to do other things.

Clara said...

I'm better at writing than speaking, so I find impromptu conversations very awkward because I don't think "on my feet" very well at all. It's not that I'm rude or in a rush... My mind just goes blank!! :( I suppose that's just how God makes some people - to NOT have the "gift of the gab" as they say...

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Sharon's New Life said...

I think there are always times when we wish we had been friendlier, but everyone has their bad days!
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Marianne said...

I'm a new follower from New Friend Friday!

I enjoyed this post a lot! I don't find impromptu social situations awkward, but I'm a natural born sales person- so I tend to gravitate towards them! And I talk to anyone- pretty much everywhere- unless I'm in a hurry. I do know people that are very much uncomfortable in these types of situations though.

Lucy's Human

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Maegan said...

I am like you Chrissy, always a fan of impromptu small talk, even if I don't feel up to it! I think it's our personality! My husband, however, cannot make small talk. He will honestly just stare at you or walk away if he doesn't know you. If you wave at him and he doesn't recognize you, he's not going to wave back. I want to run behind him screaming "he's not rude, I's just his really bizarre personality!" So, I really think it depends on your personality and I always try to give people a break when they 'seem rude' b/c that just may be who they are!

speechgal said...

As this is a smaller town & where I grew up & have worked, I know many people. So, a trip to Wal-Mart often turns into social hour(s). I try to be pleasant but have quickly dodged down a different aisle to avoid a person, just to get out of there! With two little ones in tow, it just isn't feasible to be impromptu w/everyone!!

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