We are now in Twixmas – the twilight period between Christmas and New Years. It’s also that time of year when gossip can get a little stilted.
The range of topics of conversation has slowly dried up and the celebratory questions you usually resort to (‘Do you have anything nice?/’Plans for New Year’s?’/’What do you think of the new Quality Street wrappers?’) no longer cut the mustard .
It’s difficult, as it usually involves lots of prolonged contact with extended family, hometown friends you haven’t spoken to in years, and distant cousins who you harbor a secret grudge against because they had a Barbie dream house and you didn’t.
Small talk can be challenging and exhausting, but there are ways you can push through.
Act like you’re thrilled to be there – people like it when you seem to enjoy their company, it’s a real icebreaker.
Don’t ask people how they are. I know this goes against the grain, but it’s too vague, often devolving into a drawn-out back-and-forth (“Can’t complain. And yourself?”) before an awkward pause. Be creative and specific: “How on earth do you manage to take off your socks and sandals in December?”
Avoid heavy topics of conversation unless you are 100% sure that both you and the person you are speaking to want to have a big and heavy conversation (they don’t).
Listen and ask people about their lives – most people are more than happy to talk about themselves when given half the chance.
Circulate – work a space. Leave a conversation to pretend to look at a Christmas decoration or get another drink, then move on to a different group of people.
Have some anecdotes in your pocket – they don’t have to be truthful, but they have to be entertaining. If you’re still struggling to think of things to talk about, then return to my handy list of small talk starter questions below.
- Should Marty Whelan be canonized?
- At what exact moment on Christmas Day did you want to bang someone’s head in a bowl of bits and pieces?
- What was your most regrettable haircut?
- What did you wear to your debs? Which of your childhood friends did you irrevocably fall out with that evening?
- Who is the least famous “famous” person you have ever seen?
- Tell me about the first time you disappointed your mother.
- Have you ever been escorted from a venue?
- Tell me your life story through the prism of Simpsons episodes.
- Who do you think would win in a fight: Marty Morrissey or Des Cahill?
- Have you ever broken a limb?
- What’s your favorite thing to eat at 4 a.m. after a night of drinking?
- What was the worst Christmas present you got? Was it the Lynx Africa shower gel I bought you?
- What is your favorite dog and why?
- Please talk about dogs continuously for the next 25 minutes.
- Have you ever been dragged onto the stage at a concert?
- Have you ever pushed someone off stage at a concert?
- Who is your favorite RTÉ newsreader of all time?
- If you could spend a night with twink and their cockatoo Timba, where would you go and what would you do?
- What is your favorite swear word?
- What do you think is the most underrated Irish song of all time?
- Why wasn’t your answer Crazy 2000 by Mark McCabe?
- What do you think of butterboards?
- What’s your favorite spoken word interlude in a pop song?
- Have you ever lost your mind in public? If yes, what triggered it?
- Who would you rather shed tears with: Anne Doyle or Linda Martin?
- Tell me about the worst New Year’s Eve of your life?
- When all else fails, talk about the weather. Every Irishman has an opinion on this.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/your-handy-twixmas-conversation-starter-guide-27-brilliant-questions-that-will-see-you-through-the-post-christmas-slump-42245525.html Your handy Twixmas conversation starter guide: 27 brilliant questions to get you through the post-Christmas crisis