10 Useful Tips for Making Small Talk (Again!)

Finally, after more than a year of being locked down in our homes and unable to attend events large and small, life is finally resuming to a degree that actually resembles “normal.” For most of us, this is exciting news, but it can also be met with quite a bit of anxiety and, well, hesitancy, as we begin to attend events again. We’ve been so removed and isolated from our social circles that simply pressing the “play button” on that portion of our lives can be rather daunting.

“For most people, there is definitely going to be an adjustment period to build up enough endurance to be around others, especially for those who have spent most of the time in lockdown alone and are only used to experiencing other humans through a screen,” notes London-​based life coach, Michelle Elman. “Pre-pandemic, I don't think many people realized that social interaction required energy because we were so used to it but, as with anything, if you haven't done something for a year, it will seem harder than it was before.” 

As with anything, if you haven't done something for a year, it will seem harder than it was before.

Jodi R.R. Smith, owner of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, agrees that social skills are not something that necessarily comes naturally to most—they’re learned behaviors. “Just like any other skill, if social skills are not employed, they rust,” she says. “Just as you would never take a year off from jogging and then wake up to run a marathon, so too you need to start small and increase your stamina for social interactions.” 

If you have an upcoming wedding to attend, whether 75 people or 300 are invited, it can be stressful to imagine how you’ll manage once seemingly simple social interactions, such as making small talk, again. The good news: Just like you learned how to socialize when you were a child and as you grew into adulthood, you can acquaint yourself with becoming comfortable in social settings that require you to converse and with people you might not know all that well.

As you assimilate into the new post-pandemic normal, here are some expert tips for making the process easier, more streamlined, and less anxiety-inducing for yourself.

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