Small talk shouldn’t be this complicated.

Today on my lunch break I ran into the little 7-Eleven by my office to grab a snack. While I was in line, I noticed the lady at the register and how friendly she was was with all the customers. It was a nice change of pace from the usual clerk who always looks at me like I just insulted his dead grandmother or something and never responds to a thing I say, even after I tell him thank you! in the cheeriest way possible.

Not bitter. Nope. ANYWAY.

So this lady is making small talk with every person in line before me, and as I approached the register I was happy to hear her say, ‘Hello miss! How are you doing today?’ (YAY! I’m a miss, not a ma’am for once!)

Me: Hi! I’m doing great, thank you. :D

Nice Lady: Is this everything?

Me: (as I swipe my card) Yes, I think I’m good–

Nice Lady: Hi! How are you doing today??

Me: …umm, me? I’m good… (???), thank you–

Nice Lady: (annoyed expression) No, not you. I already asked you. I was talking to hiiiim. (gestures to a man she must know and practically bats her eyes in his direction.)

Me: Oh, I’m sorry! (nervous/confused laugh thing) I thought you were… (nervous/confused laugh thing) talking to me… (nervous/confused laugh thing)

Nice Lady: Nope. Have a great afternoon, miss!

It was the weirdest thing EVER and I walked out of there feeling like a freaking moron. She was nice to everyone else! What did I do wrong? You know, I’ve noticed there are a lot of ladies out there who just happen to have a cheerful voice that makes you automatically assume they have a personality to match, but they’re really just grumpy, EVIL jerks in disguise. It always throws me off.

What happened today got me thinking about another awkward situation I seem to find myself in pretty often. I’ve approached this scenario several different ways, none of which go over smoothly. Ever. See if you can relate.

How do you even respond to “What’s up?”  I don’t know, I always find it a bit rude for some reason. Like the person is in too big of a hurry to have a full conversation with me and just wants me to get straight to the point already. Or they want to cut corners instead of just doing the polite thing of asking how I’m doing as well. I don’t know. I guess I’m just awkward? I’m getting old?

Or I’m just cranky and high maintenance. I know.

So, how do you normal people respond?

23 thoughts on “Small talk shouldn’t be this complicated.

  1. I am a motor mouth, and I kind of love awkward situations and rude people, I thrive on that stuff. Its almost like I make them feel sorry for being such a pooh head.

  2. your just too pretty and they can’t handle it!

    hehe…whats up?…not much,-insert weather reprot here-…hahahahah! sure is sunny today :)

  3. I know exactly what you mean with everything you said! I also hate when people are nice and cheerful to some people and then when they get to you, they’re rude. *sigh*

  4. If they ask you whats up, then tell them! “Well, this morning I slept through my alarm for 20 minutes, so I didn’t have time to properly exfoliate today, which is leaving me feeling slightly cranky, but my favorite show is on tonight so I guess its all okay. That’s whats up.”

    Definitely throws people off. Go for it.

  5. Funny thing… I remember on AIM (in the good ol’ days), “what’s up” was a preferred greeting because it indicated a caring for what you are doing at that moment. Fast forward 8 years and a “what’s up” greeting in person and/or on the phone and I feel the same way as you. Are you too busy for me… then shoo, I’m too busy for you!

  6. When someone asks me, “What’s up?” I almost inevitably reply, “Good, and you?” Then, of course, when someone says, “How are you?” I say, “Nothing, you?”

  7. Lol, I think it’s funny when people say “what’s up” instead of hi. Or YOU are really asking them “what’s up” and they kind of ignore it…if that makes sense. “Hey man, what’s up?” “Hey, how are you?” Ummm, I ASKED YOU WHAT’S UP! Lol!

    Aggghhh, sooo awkward! People are obviously not trying to have a genuine conversation -.-

  8. I really get annoyed with the “What’s Up”. I have decided that I will no longer answer their “What’s Up” semi-rhetorical question, and ignore what they just said.

    People who want to talk, won’t actually say What’s Up, I don’t think. I’ve never used that term because I think it’s so confusing :(

  9. I had someone at work years ago who would ask “What’s up?”, which since I wasn’t doing much of anything at that time, I would always answer “Nothing”. My cousin advised me to make things up about my weekend, etc. (as she did)……….So, actually it works! I wouldn’t say that I had climbed Mt. Everest, etc……………just sayin’………

  10. p.s. My above comment: It actually prompted me to go out and actually DO things: Golden Gate Park, Museums, etc., etc.

  11. Ugh. I hate the “What’s up.” Always have! Whenever someone tells me that while walking down the hall in the office, it’s especially weird because you say “Not much” while walking away from the person … but then you feel like you have to add “What’s up with you?” but then you REALLY can’t hear their answer (which would probably just be “nothing.”) because now they’re walking even further and further away from you. So awkward! And absolutely pointless. WTH.

    Reminds me of high school, ninth grade. This boy I had a crush on said “What’s up” to me and I said “How are you?” because I felt like “What’s up” was just dumb … but then I felt like he thought I was dumb for saying “How are you?” in response … and I’ve remembered it ever since. HA!

    Oh man. Glad you totally understand!

  12. I hate “What’s up.” Mostly because I know that if you’re asking me that while I walk by you in the hallway, I know you don’t really want to know. And I’m awkward.

  13. I absolutely hate “what’s up”. My natural reaction is to actually answer the question. Something like “not much” or “Oh, well, I’m just coming from the hair stylist..”

    but no, that’s not what people are looking for. Apparantly “What’s up?” means, “hi.” That’s so dumb.

    Just say “hi!”

  14. I bet you dollars to (7-Eleven) donuts that that woman was just rude because you’re prettier than her.

    Sorry, but that’s how I feel! :)

  15. whats up to me, means what’s going on so I’m kind of with option two.

    bbuuuttttt now that I think about it, it’s kind of like saying, what do you want, just more abruptly.

    I’m going to stop saying that now. :)

  16. hilarious the way you retold the story of the ‘nice lady’. you are too much.

    the other day at trader joes one of the cashiers made the dumbest jokes ever and i just stood there and for the first time in my life i had NO response whatsoever…totally did that funny laugh like omg i’m dying from awkwardness. it was pretty much hysterical if you ask me!

    i think if you really care about people and genuinely care about them it’s ok if things get a little awkward from time to time. who knows? you could be the first person that day who even took the time to say hi and make eye-contact and maybe they decide the world is not so bad and they decide not to commit suicide that night…so, keep being your friendly self, regardless of how many options it takes!!!

  17. I am also confused about the “What’s up” thing.

    I actually interned at the rap radio station here on town (and if you ever met me, this would be the most hilarious thing you’ve ever heard, cause I am the whitest person on the planet). The DJ’s would always say “What it is, Jenny” or “What the do, Jenny” when greeting me. HOW DO YOU ANSWER THAT?!

  18. I think it’s weird too. I don’t feel that people actually want to know. It’s just a way of saying hi but I always feel compelled to say something.

  19. i laughed out when i spot that NICE LADY turned out with correction. Lol. It’s funny to know how you really had awkward situation and i felt like you’re talking to me straightly :))
    Over information is fun i think, like you share without boundaries to random people you don’t even know who he/she is. Nice post, i laugh still you know.

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