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Converting Small to Large Talk

fighting_couple_fallIntroverts hate small talk. It’s nothing personal but they have better things to do than partake in normal social interaction. How can you expect them to say hello when they’re obsessing about that piece of food stuck in your teeth? It doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk to extroverts; they’re just anxious to get to the heart of the matter: the who, why, where, and what’s with the pierced nose stuff.

You have to be careful with introverts. Just saying hello to one may cause their eyes to glaze over. Use the following Small to Large Talk Conversion chart to remove some of the uneasiness from your conversations.

Instead of saying: Try:
Hi. I bet you’re wondering why I’m sporting cleavage down to the wazoo at this funeral.
What do you do for a living? You look like a doctor friend of mine who went to jail for illegally prescribing OxyContin.
I’m an accountant. Most people think I’m boring because I’m an accountant, but there are many other reasons I put people to sleep.
Nice party. This should be interesting. Alice doesn’t know her ex-husband and his new girlfriend are coming.
How do you know the hosts? I was hired to defend Bob and Gail during that illegal nanny business. And you?
Do you have the time? I have to get home soon. My boyfriend is starring in a new reality show called “Who Wants to be a Transsexual.”
It was nice meeting you. Wait till I tell my wife I met the guy who broke up her sister’s marriage.
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Advice – Andy Brightman – Trying to be Heard in a Herd

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Dear Andy,

I’m a board member for a non-profit organization. We’re raising money to restore the nation’s first rendering facility. It’s a project about which I’m very passionate. Our monthly meetings are lively affairs in which opinions fly fast and furious. I have much to say but there’s never a pause in the conversation for me to speak. I’m an extreme introvert and could never interrupt someone, but I need to express how I feel about converting waste animal tissue. How can I share my thoughts with the group?

Bursting on Beacon Hill

Dear Bursting,

I too have a hard time making myself heard in meetings. It’s not easy for introverts to cut people off and join the verbal fray. We have to devise alternative strategies that work best for us. For example, I always bring my ventriloquist dummy, Tommy to meetings. He isn’t afraid to jump into any conversation. However, there’s no guarantee your dummy will be as extroverted as he.

Have you tried communicating with your fellow board members outside of meetings? I often send 50-page emails summarizing my thoughts. If I have something really important to say I arrange to “accidentally” run into them as they’re leaving home for work. I’ve also had some constructive “surprise” conversations at muffler shops, psychiatrist offices, and funerals.

You have a right to be heard. The world needs to know how you feel about dead animal carcasses. The key is finding a way to communicate that works for you and won’t result in lawsuits or restraining orders.

Andy Brightman is a former CIA intelligence officer. “To Hell and Back: My 35 Years in Cubicle 289D” is his recently-published autobiography. 

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I Am Not an Animal! I Am an Introvert!

elephant_man_01We asked readers to send in questions for Joseph Carey Merrick, known by many as Elephant Man.

When did you first know you wanted to get into freak-show business? – Ned, Overbite, PA

I was never much of a people person, so that ruled out middle management. Then a promoter approached me about sitting quietly in a chair on stage. I immediately thought, “This is so me.”

Does it bother you that most people are repulsed by your physical appearance? – Jeannette, Lumpy, IL

Not at all. The last thing I want to do at social gatherings is talk to strangers. Normally, I bring a book and sit by myself. Not once has anyone ever said, “Hi, what are you reading?”

Do you ever think about what your life would be like if you weren’t the Elephant Man? – Paul, Quirky, WI

Never! I am not an animal! I am an introvert! Every night women throw their hotel keys at me and then spend the rest of the evening avoiding eye contact. Who could ask for anything more?

If you could switch places with anyone temporarily, who would it be? – Candace, Fibro, AZ

My feminine side has always been curious about the Bearded Lady, but I think I’d go with Tony Bennett, if only to experience mastering the American Songbook.

What advice would you give to other abnormal human beings? – Vince, Love Canal, NY

I never worry about what other people think, mainly because I’m an introverted aberration, not a shy oddity. I also have other tips which you can read in my new book, “Thirty Days to a Less Frightening You.”

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When Did You Realize You Were an Introvert?

 man_and_horse Bob: I remember lying in the maternity ward thinking, “These crying babies are driving me crazy!” At that moment I realized I was a solitary soul. Although I still prefer crying to small talk.

Sparky: Don’t get me wrong, I like Bob, but after he mounted me the first time, I thought, “I need my space.“

 FRANCE-CHANCELADE MAN-RECONSTRUCTION Phyllis: I always felt like a fish out of water. Then while at Harvard Business School I interned as a Mongolian tribeswoman. I found my dream job: yak herding. Now it’s just me, my deepest thoughts and 15,000 yaks.
 clown_01 Donald: For 20 years I entertained at children’s birthday parties before realizing large crowds of kiddies were driving me crazy. Now, I stay for only a few minutes, pretend to get an emergency phone call and leave. The kids and parents hate it but I’m a happy person.
 thoughful_man_01 Boyce: It was when I sat down to lunch with some introvert workmates. The table was silent. It’s so wonderful to discover friends with whom I can act as if they don’t exist.
 vampire_01 Melody: After I lost by baby fangs I began to feel a need for deep connections with just a few people. I’m kind of a loner, but I really latch intensely onto the friends I do have.
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No Visual Response Home Introvert Test

pregnancy_test_01No Visual Response is the only home introvert test that tells you within minutes if you’re an introvert.

How it works

Simply pee on a test strip. Then see what color it changes to:

  • Off white indicates you’re an extrovert. Don’t tell anyone you took this test.
  • Pink indicates you’re a mild introvert. You can withstand obnoxious workmates up to eight hours a day as long as you hide in the janitor’s closet for occasional breaks.
  • Green indicates you’re a normal introvert. You can mingle with a group of strangers at a party until you come up with a good excuse to leave.
  • Blue indicates you’re a serious introvert. You should only enter into relationships with people who will give you some space, preferably people who live in neighboring states.
  • Purple indicates you’re an extreme introvert. Don’t leave your apartment until 2028.

The No Visual Response Home Introvert Test is more accurate than most introvert tests, including the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment, which we recommend if you prefer tests in which you don’t have to pee on things.

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Discover Your Inner Introvert

sacred_woman_01Journey to your Introverse and beyond!

Join subconscious spiritual guide, Madame Carma Dioxide on a divine voyage to your most inner introvert.

The itinerary includes her sacred-palooza seminars:

  • Traveling the Quiet Expressed – Madame Dioxide leads you on a meditative excursion where silence is golden and tipping is forbidden.
  • The Zen of Aloneness and Binge Watching – Spend an entire weekend at Madame’s astoundingly beautiful Santa Barbara retreat while viewing every episode of Netflix’ “House of Cards” in a sensory deprivation tank (single tanks are extra). Price includes all the frozen pizza and Ben & Jerrys you can eat.
  • Toastmasters of the Soul – Learn to trust your inner monologue and better communicate with your unspoken voices. Emphasis on presentation, confidence and grammar.
  • I’m Beginning to See the Fright – Do you feel you’re suffocating when you’re in a crowd? It’s time to acknowledge and face your fear. Join countless other introverts in Madame’s small “purification” hut. We’ll confront our demons and sweat off a few pounds.
  • Small Talk Survivors Group – Share your experiences with other non–judgmental survivors in a safe space. Topics include “Beyond ‘Nice to meet you’ ” and “Getting past ‘So what do you do for a living?’.”

Madame Dioxide’s weekend retreat also includes a free seminar, Total Mind/Body/Spirit/Alignment and Rotation led by her live-in boyfriend, Master Yogi Goodwrench.

Price includes lodging, meals, and a T-shirt.

“Madame Carma Dioxide’s will lead you to a quiet, tranquil world. She is unquestionably nothingness personified.”Sixpak Chopra

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