Mastering the Art of Small Talk

Polka Dot midi dress

Polka Dot midi dress

You know how it is, you walk into a social function and are greeted by seven of your parents’ ‘life-long’ school friends that haven’t seen you for twenty years, or your grandparents’ eighty-year-old cousins who can’t work their stair lift, let alone use a mobile phone. We’ve all been there, and whether it’s for work, social, or family, small talk can be a difficult art, which is why The Millennial Girl’s Guide is here to provide you with the easiest way to navigate yourself around these tricky situations…

Explaining what you ‘do’

Chances are the first question in a social setting will be the dreaded: ‘what are you doing now?’. Go to a bar, a BBQ or a 90th birthday and you’ll be faced by the same old queries… ‘Where do you work?’, ‘What degree did you do?’, ‘What’s your ten year plan?’, maybe even ‘Have you finished school now?’ (yep, about seven years ago now but who’s counting?!). If your job is pretty straight forward and has been around for over a century (i.e. school teacher or farmer…), this will be fairly easy small talk to negotiate your way around. However, if you’re unlucky enough to have a millennial career – a blogger, a games designer, public relations, a computer research scientist etc. etc. – then you’ll know the heart-sinking feeling when someone asks you what you do for a living.

Recently I was telling a guy in a bar that I was a blogger, he proceeded to ask me what kind of clothes I designed. Yep, even the young are sometimes baffled by millennial careers. I summarised (before quickly walking away) by suggesting that I was like a journalist. It had to do. 

Okay so you get the picture. Many a time have I spluttered over the words ‘fashion blogger, well no, I’m not really a fashion blogger. I don’t actually write about clothes. I’m kinda like a writer. Have you heard of Instagram? It’s a bit like journalism. Well no, I’m not really a journalist. A writer. But I write for myself. Err, yes you can make money from it. Basically I’m freelance, I have a website. A bit like a magazine! Oh god, I give up…’. So essentially, mastering the art of work based small talk needs practise. A lot of it.

It is advisable to whittle your career down into a few short sentences.

  1. The actual title of your job.
  2. Two short sentences on what you actually do.
  3. A comparative job. By this time you’ve probably lost them anyway.
  4. If they don’t understand at this point, find someone else to talk to.

polka dot dress

polka dot dress

Quiz Master

Once you’ve been bombarded by questions yourself, it’s time to take the helm and do a bit of quizzing of your own. Pooh shmooh with the boring questions. No one cares how anyone’s grandkids are doing, or whether they enjoyed their holiday to Canada for the seventh year in a row. How predictable! No, catch them off guard a bit. They’ve forced you to divulge into the complication that is your job, so you need to make them sweat a bit too. Ask them what their opinion on fracking is (note: make sure to brush up yourself on what fracking means before you propose this debate) or if they think Donald Trump’s hair is real.

If things get controversial then take a step back and let them fight it out with someone else. At least you’ve avoided being bored to death about their daughter’s colleague’s one legged-dog.

The Spitter

There’s always one, great uncle such-a-body, that likes to communicate with a little more enthusiasm with others. Usually they approach scoffing down a quiche or apple pie in hand, while the other half of it ends up on your face. Whilst they challenge you with your knowledge of Cumbrian lakes in an inescapable corner of the room, you must source a shield from somewhere to avoid bursts of their saliva from going all over your new Zara dress. At any social gathering, where small talk is unavoidable, there will usually be some sort of food and drinks. Napkins will be there. Promise. In preparation, grab yourself a few just incase you come across a spitter, keep them in hand so they won’t notice you guarding your precious Charlotte-Tilbury-made-up face. Problem solved!

(P.S. If all else fails use your phone as some protection. These people are usually so caught up in their own conversation that they’ll never question why you’re holding your phone up to your nose like that.)

polka dot dress

polka dot dress

What I’m Wearing

Dress | H&M, currently only in stores

Trainers | Pull & Bear, similar linked below

Bag | Gucci, similar linked below

Jumper | H&M, similar linked below

Sunglasses | Céline, linked below 

Earrings | H&M, similar linked below



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