We all know about coffee table books, but do you ever think about coffee table conversations? Those super niche topics that allow you to get to know the person sitting beside, or across from you, without any deep or meaningful connections. But you learn enough meaningful information,, or perhaps interesting is the right word, that if you were to get stuck behind them in line at the coffee shop, or bump into them on a train, you could sustain conversation for those allotted minutes. I mean, if you hit the jackpot of coffee table conversation, such as a shared niche on the perfect set-up for a joke that renders you both in stitches, then you’ll be more than dandy if you accidentally see each other again. If you haven’t already booked a cafe date. But if you’re anything like me, there’s nothing more awkward and uncomfortable than forced socialisation. so instead of Fumbling through topics of the weather, work, mutual friends or, god-forbid, pictures of their children/nieces/nephews. I have these topics. It’s for my sanity, really. Hopefully you might get something out of this too!
Topic one: skincare. Okay, this might seem personal, but it’s the ultimate icebreaker. Are you brand loyal? Do you have a go-to ingredient? How many steps in your routine? Have you ever heard of Q+A skin? Because I’ve just discovered them and they’re really quite great. They ask me ‘Oh, is that so?’ I say yes, and have a little rattle on about my favourite product, or how something reduced my acne, and then they’ll mention a terrible spot they got from the make up they wore to a fancy dinner. I then have the choice to inquire about the dinner, or recommend a product. If I like them, I say ‘add me on Facebook’ and I’ll send you some links. Bam, that was easy, wasn’t it?
My second favourite topic is politics. Now hear me out, I know it’s one of those things you’re supposed to avoid, but not me! If I’m talking with a right-wing fascist, I’d like to know. Perhaps our coffee table talk can be a learning experience for them, a teachable moment. Also, never in all my years, have I found it impossible to find common ground having a go at a specific politician. They’re so hatable, gals. So awful. So I ask them ‘have you seen what happened with insert current event here?’ and either we discuss it, or I explain it. Perhaps a key piece of information here is that I like to talk, and I’ll happily do it to avoid silence. My fall back is current events that fall more into arts and entertainment, like celebrities. Everyone watches films, right?
Third and final go-to topic is foods that I don’t like. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a food they don’t like, and/or a story about a gross culinary experience. Shellfish, snails, frog legs, you name it. It’s so amusing to me to talk about people’s weird reasons for disliking common foods. Hearing my friend talk about how she feels eating banana always cracks me up. The way her body cringes at the thought of the texture, the fake gagging. Hilarious. I suppose it’s similar with creepy crawlies, bugs and such. Everyone has a funny or suspenseful spider catching story, or will happily recount the time they saw a four foot long shake, even if it is exaggerated.
So those are my three topics to ensure a relatively smooth social interaction and ample opportunity for a forced follow up. Let me know your keys to success!