Keep Small Talk Small

We put too much pressure on ourselves when we are in conversations.  There’s really no need for this.  Instead, we should focus outwardly and listen to the other person, and then we need to get rid of the irrational ideas that we must be funny, interesting, and/or entertaining.  You are just making small talk.  No one else is worried about telling funny stories.  Maybe you are trying too hard to gain the other person's approval?  You don't need to do this. 

Focus outwardly, listen to the other person, and then respond to their question or their comments.  It doesn’t have to be anything big, earth-shattering, or mind-blowing ... it's just simple small talk.  There are plenty of subjects you may have in common.  You could discuss the weather, a class you're both in, your duties at work, your supervisor on the job, a video game you both play, a TV show you've heard about, etc.  You do not need to entertain others.  Whatever you say (common-sense, in context) is all right.  When the conversation is over, move on.  Forget it.  You're on to the next thing. 

After all, small talk is small talk because ... it's small.  It's not that important.  It's no big deal.

Follow Dr. Richards

The Social Anxiety Association

The Social Anxiety Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 to meet the growing needs of people with social anxiety.  The SAA became inactive for several years due to lack of resources.  We are in the process of re-doing our website, listing all active, structured CBT groups for social anxiety, and renewing all our licenses.  Major changes will be happening by the end of 2013.  We publish new web content -- concerning social anxiety -- almost daily on the site now.

The Social Anxiety Institute is the largest website on the internet about social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Therapy programs have run at the Institute full-time since 1994.  Major new help for overcoming social anxiety is under development and will be introduced in 2013. 

For treatment: Overcoming social anxiety: Step by Step   A structured guide to overcoming social anxiety (a "How to" guide to get over social anxiety).

The Anxiety Network explains and describes five major anxiety disorders.

Guidelines for listing social anxiety groups on this site.  We cannot officially endorse groups, so check them out thoroughly.  We ask that they be groups that are operating, have a definite leader, and are thoroughly structured.  Social anxiety therapy groups are very different than the groups that operate for other mental health conditions.