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Small Talk, Big Benefits

March 21, 2017

small talkIt was dinnertime, about a dozen of us, all with growling stomachs, crowded in front of the Fairway deli counter with pink ticket numbers in hand, thumbing through emails and waiting to place our orders. After a long day, many wanted to get their food, go home and watch March Madness.

I know I did.

Four Fairway employees moved behind the counter in their choreographed dance, carving meats and scooping roasted vegies into containers. No doubt they were tired too. In the midst of placing orders, one person was slowing things down. One Fairway deli man called out the next number and said to his customer, “Hi, how was your day?”

Groans appeared from folks waiting their turn. I admit to being one.

“Uh, it was okay,” answered the male customer, taken aback. “How was yours?”

“It was great, thanks for asking.” Smiled the employee. Faces looked up from their cell phones as the banter continued.

“Only one piece of salmon?” joked the employee. “Certainly a big guy like you can eat more.”

“Oh, I’d also like three pieces of chicken.”

“Now we’re talking,” joked the employee.

Customers were now exchanging that “Only in New York” expression, while wearing genuine smiles. Even though we were not part of the conversation, it lightened the mood for each of us.

Turns out, that’s what small talk does. Makes us happier. But small talk has been swallowed up by cell phones, and instead of engaging with strangers while waiting for a bus or talking to our doormen, we’re texting or Snap Chatting. In losing our communications with people, we’re losing out on connections. And we need it now, more than ever.

Researchers from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that “even a little interaction with your regular barista at the coffee shop, can contribute to day-to-day well-being.” Imagine feeling cheerier from a simple, “How you doin’?” whether they’re a friend or not. And you never know, your new best friend or soul mate could be just inches past your cell phone and all you need to do is look up.

So as I waited my turn in Fairway, I was hoping to get the chatty employee. Sure enough.

“How was your day?” he asked me.

“It was fabulous,” I said, seeing heads turn to me. “I met the nicest guy at Fairway.”

Click here for some tips on making small talk.


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  1. Tom Olverson permalink

    Ah, Felice! You find such wisdom in the
    day to day! Thank you!

  2. Fink, Robert permalink


    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Rob Freedman permalink

    Totally agree. Hi Felice.

  4. Edes Gilbert permalink

    I love it!! So true. In many ways small talk greases the wheels of progress in human Connections. Anyway, thanks. 😎


    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Auntie M permalink


  6. Richard Aberson permalink

    Clever you—-everyone likes to be treated as an individual, not just as someone who provides a service.

  7. Deanna Rutherford-Blowes permalink

    You’re so right. Small talk does make the day so much lighter and brighter for all. 😀

  8. I’m glad I found your post. 🙂 Like smiling, a little small talk makes people comfortable, and I admire people who do it naturally and well– because as an introvert, it makes things easier and more enjoyable to be around who ease the way in conversation.

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