1. Being stuck in an elevator with a stranger who likes to comment on the weather and expects a response other than our standard half-smile-half-shrug and “yeah.”
2. Icebreakers at our new job. We like the ice. The ice is our friend. Let’s keep it nice and intact, shall we?
3. Asking store clerks for assistance. We’ve already wandered the entire store for a solid forty-five minutes, so we don’t really have a choice but to ask, but UGH.
4. Answering unknown phone numbers.
5. For that matter, answering known phone numbers from anyone other than immediate friends or family.
6. Walking into our apartment, and discovering our roommate invited friends over, and now we have to make sufficient small talk as we slowly make our way to our room.
7. Asking strangers for directions.
8. Being approached by a stranger asking for directions.
9. Wanting to plug in our computer charger at a coffee shop, but the only available outlet is next to a stranger, and we have to ask them to move their cup for a quick second.
10. Having to spontaneously talk in front of more than two people.
11. Our friend dragging us to a party, and then abandoning us to use the bathroom, and we’re just standing there. Being awkward. Not knowing anyone.
12. And then that good Samaritan walks up to us to keep us company, and we feel obligated to make small talk with them, because they’re just trying to be friendly, but we really just want to Wicked-Witch-of-the-West it and melt into a puddle on the floor.
13. Having to go inside Starbucks and order our coffee face-to-face, because they don’t have a lovely convenient drive thru.
14. Seeing that we need to get our hair cut, but knowing that when we do, we’ll need to make small talk with our hair stylist for a minimum of 30 minutes. Honestly, how on earth are we supposed to make small talk for that long?
15. Inadvertently making eye contact with that vague acquaintance that we really don’t want to stop and chat with, but now we have to stop and chat with.
16. Just small talk. All forms of small talk.