On Friday night Dunk and I nipped out for a quiet couple of pints in West Didsbury – for a change, we thought, why not – hitting the Met, Silver Apples and The Drawing Room. Outside Silver Apples, we talked about a small talk course that I’d once been on with work. It was supposed to be about influencing and negotiating skills, but that boiled down to pretty much how to do small talk. Small talk needs to show the other person you’re interested in them, but not to the extent that you seem to be prying, they told us. We learned that some subjects – holidays, sport, hobbies – are perfect for small talk because they’re very safe. Others – sex, politics, children – less so.
Dunk seemed very interested. He was just about to ask a question, when a casual acquaintance of mine passed by with his date. We hit up the small talk topics, bits about holidays, bits about football – but I could see his date getting bored. We asked her about her sporting interests, and it turned out she plays rugby. Very exciting. And she became more animated, more involved the more questions we asked her. It was an object lesson.
Ten minutes later they walked away. I looked at Dunk. He looked at me. Kings of small talk! Crown us now!