The power of small talk

When I lived in Dubai, there was a Cafe Nero in a street about a 15 minute walk away from my flat.

I loved going there on the weekends (and sometimes on the weekdays if I had had a long day) and treat myself to a coffee or an iced tea.

I often did this in solitude, with a book, music or my laptop and would sit there for an hour or so.

But thinking back to those times, I was always uplifted by a small but simple interaction with the barristers who worked there.

There was one particular guy from the Philippines who was the most well mannered and friendliest person you could imagine, he’d always ask how I was, engage with genuine interest how my day was, what musical things I was up to and where I’d been if I had not been around in a while.

Such a simple but lovely chat with someone who’s job was to make coffee elevated my day, and I hoped my interaction elevated his day too.

Making that effort to engage with someone encourages the social connections we all desire as human beings, (even if I was in the cafe by myself). Upon a quick search, there has been psychological research that has started to show that small talk can increase wellbeing and boost mood levels.

I’ve always admired people who can be so friendly to people they barely know, and whatever our status, discipline, profession or age, we have the chance to make every interaction positive and feed that energy to others.

I think of those barristers who used to serve me fondly, and they added a lovely bit of interaction to what could otherwise be solitary weekends.

I thank them for making me coffee, and making me happier.