"Vulcans do not make small talk."
The Other Wiki
defines small talk, or phatic communication, as "Conversation for its own sake,"
versus conversation to transmit useful information. In many societies it serves as a useful social function, but this guy doesn't enjoy taking part in it.
Maybe he's The Quiet One
or the Aloof Ally
, maybe he has a laser focus on a single goal
, maybe he's completely stressed out, or maybe he's German
. Whatever the case, he'd rather talk about something meaningful or nothing at all, than Talk About the Weather
. Also commonly comes up with people who have an Ambiguous Disorder
, Emotionless Girls
, Sugar and Ice Personality
, and, well, anything to do with introversion
Truth in Television
for many people.
Sister trope of Dispense With The Pleasantries
. Compare Being Personal Isn't Professional
, which may be one justification, or No Social Skills
, which may be another.
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Live Action TV
- Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. It's not that he hates small talk; it's that his idea of small talk consists of advanced physics theory, comic book and Star Trek canon, and obscure factoids he finds fascinating (even if no one else does). Things such as gossip, sports or personal relationships, he couldn't care less about.
- From the Star Trek franchise:
- Both Worf and Odo hate small talk. Inevitably this leads to a conversation in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where they make small talk...about how they hate small talk.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard is not a big fan of small talk. In fact, when Data attempted to make small talk with him, he directed the android to keep an eye on someone who was notorious for being big on small talk. Data follows that order and the rest of the crew look in amazement as the resulting conversation rapidly shrinks to microscopic proportions.
- In Star Trek: Voyager, Tuvok once remarked that "Vulcans do not make small talk." However, under orders, he does briefly make small talk with a hologram of Leonardo da Vinci.
- Similarly, on Voyager, when Captain Janeway first activated The Doctor and commented on his lack of personality, he stated that he was programmed to perform medicine as efficiently as possible and small talk would only compromise his performance. Later, however, as part of his growth to exceed his programming, he learned the art of small talk in order to better relate to his patients, and tried to teach it to Seven of Nine, a former Borg drone, as well.
- The "Vocational Guidance Counsellor" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus has this exchange between Palin and Cleese (no prizes for guessing who plays what):
Counsellor: Ah, Mr Anchovy! Do sit down.
Mr Anchovy: Thank you. Take the weight off the feet, eh? Lovely weather for the time of year I must say!
Counsellor: Enough of this gay banter.
- In the crime-lab show Bones, one of the regularly-repeating crew of interns is constantly frustrated by the amount of time the main characters spend discussing their personal lives and dramas, so much so that "can we talk about the job, please" is basically his Catch Phrase. Of course, on the rare occasions when he talks about his personal life, everyone else expresses shock at how unprofessional he's being.
- From Sabrina the Teenage Witch where she meets Aaron's parents:
Sabrina: Hi, Aaron's told me so much about you.
Aaron's Dad: Then he obviously didn't tell you I hate small talk.
- Sam Puckett from iCarly, especially when it comes to guys and dating. She'd rather they not talk to her and pay for dinner... or even just give her the money and stay out of her life.
- Mitchell from Modern Family hates making small talk with strangers. In one episode, this is his justification for not attending a wedding with his partner Cam.
- Detective Murdoch from Murdoch Mysteries is a Downplayed example, as he doesn't especially despise it, but he prefers useful conversation or talking about science.
Brackenreid: So Murdoch, how's married life treating you? All well at the hotel?
Murdoch: I'm happy to report that it's an excellent arrangement. No one pays you any particular mind.
Brackenreid: What do you mean?
Murdoch: Well, sir, at my boarding house, the other residents... I was constantly being pulled into conversations of limited merit.
Brackenreid: I can only imagine the difficulty.
- "Small Talk" by Genesis:
Going round in circles, hearing too many points of view
Just words to tire me out, small talk I could do without
I would be amazed if you returned to see things my way
Now that you've been disrespectful to my sense of pride
- The song "Everybody But Me" by Lykke Li covers this pretty well.
- Imogen Heap's "First Train Home" is allegedly about something like this happening at a party.
- Scritti Politti's "Small Talk":
I heard a whisper
That careless talk costs more than you bargained for
- Supertramp's Casual Conversations
- In The Pajama Game there's a song called "Small Talk"
I don't want to talk small talk
Now that I'm alone with you
I don't want to talk small talk
We've got bigger things to do
Let's not talk of the weather
Or the fashions for the fall
Why don't you stop all this small talk?
I've got something better for your lips to do
And that takes no talk at all
- Sten from Dragon Age: Origins. It's almost expected, considering he's a Proud Warrior Race Guy.
Alistair: You know, you can try to talk more.
Sten: You mean I should remark upon the weather before I cut someone's head off?
Alistair: Uhh... never mind.
- Another example, when the player is asking questions...
Grey Warden: Tell me about the Qunari.
Grey Warden: I...didn't expect that.
- The sequel confirms this applies to Qunari soldiers in general, either out of stoicism or discomfort with a foreign language. They can be extremely eloquent when discussing philosophy, but have no concept of talk for its own sake. The Arishok has little to say but "begone" to anyone besides Hawke.
- David King, the plumber in the Resident Evil Outbreak games. His strong aversion to small talk lessens in his ending in File # 2.
- Mare from RPG Shooter: Starwish. Mare initially appears to be The Voiceless, answering all your attempts to strike up a conversation with an ellipsis. When finally starting to talk, Mare still doesn't say much, because "You never said anything important."
And yes, those occasions when Mare is willing to talk, is when you bring up important stuff, like 'the continued survival of Life, the Universe and Everything', more or less.
- Squall Leonhart from "Final Fantasy VIII" When badgered by his companions to speak you can visually see his whole body sigh before he stands upright to make as short a statement as possible. He makes prolific use of the "..." Visible Silence and seems to have a ready stock of responses to deter people from making small talk with him.
Quistis: Talk to me. Tell me what's on your mind.
Quistis: (mocking) Whatever. *laughs*
- Maddox wishes he could kick people who make small talk in the crotch. Seriously.
- The awkward, filled-with-this date The Nostalgia Critic has with the The Nostalgia Chick drove him to breaking point.
- Bitch of Worm isn't fond of conversation in general, and particularly dislikes small talk.
- In Volume 1, Chapter 3 of RWBY, Blake Belladonna is clearly agitated when Ruby and Yang attempt to start a conversation with her. Only when Ruby asks Blake about the book does Blake seem interested in talking to her.
- In The Venture Bros. episode with the Mr. Alt Disney character Mr. Brisbee, Brock at first tries to get along with Brisbee's bodyguard, but the other is completely silent and rude. Later on Brock is bored and tries to light a cigarette but can't, at which point the other bodyguard produces a lighter, prompting Brock to say "You're all right." Of course, it was all a trick to knock him out.
- Lemongrab of Adventure Time tends to be like this, thanks to his almost total lack of social skills. He prefers sending people to the dungeon without a peep to actually discussing problems.
- “small talk comes from small bones” ― Ezra Pound
- This is why introverts are perceived as not being very talkative by so many, in fact. They don't like making small talk, but if they're asked about a subject they enjoy talking about, it may be difficult to get them to shut up.
- Phil Hill, the first American to win a Formula One championship has been described as being uneasy making small talk, but welcoming of a serious discussion on any topic.
- Steve Wozniak, one of the fathers of the modern computer, also hates small talk, which he has said is part of what made him so interested in computers. If he wasn't so asocial he wouldn't have become so interested in electronics in the first place.
- In the Finnish language, the closest thing there is to a expression for "small talk" can also be roughly translated to "grinding shit." The implication is that you are moving your mouth, but you are not doing anything useful with it.
- Hungarian also doesn't have a direct translation, the closest expressions used for it can also mean "chit-chat", "gossip", "tattling" or "empty-talk". Stereotypically done by almost only women: secretaries, government-employees and old ladies.
- The prevalence of small talk does appear to vary with culture. Reportedly, the British find Germans rude for not using small talk, while Germans consider small talk to be dishonest and don't have a native word for the concept in their language.
- Situation gets very interesting if you visit old traditional country villages, in which you may find out people talking about what you perceived as a small talk topic seriously. This is relatively common in case of weather, very important in relation to crop growing.