Small talk. At the start of a new year I always find there are new social events to attend via work, school and community and they require me to engage in polite conversation. Do you ever have days when you really cannot be bothered? There are also occasions when I am guilty of glazing over if the conversation is boring, relentless and self absorbed. But sometimes that “Hello, my name is Susan” ….just doesn’t work. Last year I read Gretchen Rubin’s, The Happiness Project. A good friend had referred to it on numerous occasions and I had looked up her website and bookmarked and then…left it to gather dust. But after unearthing the site I purchased a copy and made my way though various chapters about Rubin’s experiment with strategically creating enduring happiness.

One of the ideas that resonated was conversation and preparing to say affirming and encouraging things to people, in particular your husband/partner. Considering how our words can build people up, whether it is a bedmate, our child, neighbour, co-worker or even enemy is a sobering exercise.

So how might out words, our polite conversation with people have the same impact? This article has simple practical ideas from googling the news before attending and event, so that you are ‘news ready’ to planning open ended questions to ask. It seems small talk is no small task.

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