An expression I have always hated is “Has the cat got your tongue?” I am not sure exactly where this expression came from, but it basically means “Why aren’t you talking?” I don’t know if it’s used much anymore, but it’s a term from my childhood equivalent to calling someone quiet or shy.
It’s true; small talk has always been a problem for me, ever since I was young. But I have gotten much, much better at it over the years. I have even engaged strangers in the elevator from time to time. Luckily, the building I work in is not very tall.
In my journey toward understanding my own introversion, I have discovered the importance of making a conscious effort to pay more attention to the world around me, and also to pay more attention to the people around me. I am naturally a good listener and this strength has proven very helpful as I’m working to become more aware of the needs and emotions of the people I come in contact with day-to-day. And, by paying attention, I have some clues as to “what to talk about” when engaging in small talk.
As an introvert, I generally must think first, then speak. Sometimes someone may bring up something that I really don’t have a comment on. Just the other day at the convenience store, the clerk tried to engage me in conversation about the crackers I was buying and I just really had nothing to say and so I just smiled. This is a silly example, but accepting that I may not always have something brilliant to say has been very helpful for me.
Remember to focus on the unique abilities and talents you have to offer, and also remember that nobody is perfect in everything.