It may be considered polite but I call it a waste of energy. For some, superficial chit chat might provide some kind of beneficial outcome like reducing the feeling of loneliness, to diminish their curiosity and maybe even an ego boost. But for me it feels like a total waste of energy.
Superficial chit chat, to me, is people having to be either polite or nosey for no apparent reason. It shows zero depth, compassion or genuine interest. Superficial chit chat is a bit like having loads of friends on social media but not actually knowing anything truly "real" about them. It feels more of a statement and the thing to do than any kind actual caring kindness or interest.
I dread going back to my home town and having to walk through the shopping centre for the apprehension of having to answer and engage in the dumb ass questions like "You ok?" How's life treating you?" What you doing now?" Because generally speaking these people that you aren't actually "friends" with anymore or never really knew in the first place aren't actually bothered.
I for one, find the encounter all rather energy zapping and ridiculous. I actually couldn't give a shit if a friend of a friend from back in my school days is married, had an affair, lost weight, gained weight, is a millionaire or back at home with the parents or that they are working in the same job doing the same thing they've done everyday for the past 10 years. The monotonous questions of "Are you married"? "Where do you work?" are such boring questions.
Going back to the social media "friends" list. How many of those people do you actually really care about? and how many of them do you walk past in real life and not even speak to or just engage in this weird uncomfortable superficial chit chat? I bet so many of you do!
I have never been a fan of adding people on social media just for the sake of it. In fact the only people on my social media are either close friends, family and the odd acquaintance that I actually cared a lot about once whom I genuinely are interested in. So if I chose to ignore these other people online then why would I have superficial chit chat with them in real life in the local shopping centre?
Now I love to catch up with people I care about and maybe I wouldn't be in so much of a rush to dodge the chit chat if the chit chat was of least of any interest to me and of meaningful content.
I would most happily engage in a chit chat conversation with people I once knew if the usual boring questions were ditched and replaced with interesting, more meaningful questions. For example, instead of "What job do you do?" why not ask "What would be your dream job?" Or at least if the first question was asked and replied, follow it up with the dream question. Instead of the usual response "Oh I am still working at blah blah" and the other person says "oh right". And then feels awkward and the conversation really needs to end and you just want to walk away but it seems all a bit uncomfortable. I mean does anyone really give a shit if you still work in the office you've worked in for the last 7 years? It's a conversation stopper. Lets in still some passion into our conversations.
Instead of asking, "Going on holiday this year?" and the usual response being something like "Yeah just the usual Costa Blanca, where we go every year", Why not ask this afterwards "If you could go on holiday anywhere this year, where would you really like to go?"
Without a shadow of doubt the answers are going to be far more stimulating! I am sure it would show a genuine interest in people rather than the usual mind numbing, painstakingly boring questions that quite honestly I would rather avoid.
So make the choice. If you really don't want to engage in conversation with certain people, perhaps smile and carry on your day and avoid any form of conversation and that is OK to do, we don't have to want talk to everyone! Or if their are people who you would quite like to catch up with why not change how you engage in conversation. By asking far more meaningful questions. It is so much more fun and interesting. Seriously give it a go.
Ditch the chit chat and become far more interesting people.