Small Talk

by Lori Dwyer on April 26, 2011 · 35 comments

I guess this post serves as a written apology to my family and my friends. The people who’s calls I sometimes don’t return. The people who, when they do contact me, find themselves talking to someone who is either chronically disconnected, or irritable and short tempered.

It’s just…difficult, being a functioning member of society right now. It’s difficult, trying to be a social person. I feel like I’m in a different place to most people. Most people are where I used to be- the frothy top of the cappuccino of life, I guess. While right now, I’m sitting in the bit at the bottom, cold and sticky with too much sugar.

And it hurts, because I used to be so social. I used to love small talk. I used to love chatting, waffling, babbling, talking about nothing in particular. Getting to know people.

I watch other people, people I know and love, life their lives, and I wish mine still had that much depth, where little things mattered and it wasn’t day to day survival.

I’m sure I’ll get there, eventually. For now, I’ll live in the numb bubble of grief and guilt, and watch other people sparkle by with their normal lives, and hope they understand.

Small talk, for me, it just doesn’t happen. I have an inkling that may sound arrogant, and deliberately ignorant, and i guess that’s OK, because it’s just how I feel at the moment. Small talk, discussions of holidays and the weather and how old are my children?, I just find them irritating and excessively difficult to follow. They always seem to thread back to my husband being dead, that I’ve run away to Paradise, and then occasionally I flood these unsuspecting souls with too much information, too many sad details and I want to stop talking and I can’t.

Or my irritation, my anger and edginess,it shows through, and taints the conversation to the point where it is uncomfortable.

So, gradually, I find myself withdrawing from everyone I love, and those who love me. I still feel for them, all of them, even more deeply than before… but conversations with me are difficult, for all involved. It’s either too much, a bright light of ugly emotion that makes me people squint at me as if i am the sun, or it’s my bristly anger and sadness as I try to restrain everything I’m feeling.

Even with my children, my babies, a lot of the time I am on auto pilot.I answer questions, I change nappies, I smile and I play, but I do it all on auto pilot, no passion in my voice, with a smile that doesn’t quite reach my eyes. And in between the times when my attention belongs to them, I stare off into space, and I see a man in a blue shirt, with an orange rope cutting into the flesh of his neck, hes eyes half closed and bulged and rolled back, and I try to process how the hell this happened to me, try to remember that this is not a dream, this is real, this is my life.

So.. an apology, to those who I can’t small talk with, as much as I wish I could.

Please believe me when I say I love you, and I hope, one day soon… I’ll be back.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

tiffanygood May 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I haven't been t ghd stopcontact hrough what you have, or experience such a violent and ghd sale tragic loss, I can totally relate to this blog, after roughly a long time kopen ghd of avoiding the phone and ignoring calls ghd online because I just can't do "the small talk" I am slowly learning to pick up the phone again. I miss being a social butterfly and the days where the phone ringing ghd classic style was an opportunity to chat and gas bag away…. it's slowly c


Trik82 May 2, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Whilst I haven't been through what you have, or experience such a violent and tragic loss, I can totally relate to this blog, after roughly a long time of avoiding the phone and ignoring calls because I just can't do "the small talk" I am slowly learning to pick up the phone again. I miss being a social butterfly and the days where the phone ringing was an opportunity to chat and gas bag away…. it's slowly coming back and so too will yours, you just need time to heal xoxo


MaidInAustralia May 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Hugs again for your pain. And all I can say is: Know that you have changed lives. Know that you make a difference. Know that you are keeping calm and carrying on. Know that it's okay to laugh occasionally. You are a beautiful, honest soul, inside and out, and I'm here for you. We all are. xo


Sarah April 30, 2011 at 9:27 am

As I said on Twitter… Those who matter, those who love you, those that are your true friends & family will wait. They'll stick with you until the small talk returns.


Kymmie April 29, 2011 at 11:40 am

I don't think that what you've been through entails any small talk. I understand this totally, and it makes perfect sense. But one day you will be less robotic, and the joy will come back. In teeny tiny bits. Slowly. But it will. I promise. x


theKatieKitten April 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I feel like this was written for me. Thank you for explaining, I have been blaming myself, that I you don't want to talk to me as I don't have whatever it is that you want from a friend right now.
I feel the hole Lori and the two little ones left in my life.


Hear Mum Roar April 28, 2011 at 11:57 am

Sometimes small talk genuinely does suck. I'm sure anyone who's aware of your situation would be more than understanding, so I do hope you won't be too hard on yourself


Janet NZ April 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

Someone wise once told me that small talk is essentially a shallow form of communication, and you are not a shallow person. You are on your way up from a depth most of us have no concept of. Be kind to yourself Lori – take your time – everyone who matters will wait for


Lily April 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

Sometimes, even people not going through the hell you've been through, people hate the small talk. I HATE the small talk and have been known to go to great lengths to avoid it. My whole job consists of small talk, to be quite honest. You are brilliant, and screw anyone who doesn't get it. You don't owe anyone anything.


Melissa April 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm

You're so kind Lori – to worry about upsetting those who know and love you. They'll understand. You only have so much energy and right now it's focused like a laser on surviving. That will change, eventually – and your loved ones will be there to cheer with you as you as you kick your way back to the "frothy foam"
I remember during a dark period in my life feeling like the entire world was full of sharp corners, everywhere I looked, everything I heard, everything I did was a painful reminder. It was excrutiating, but it did ease. Or else I grew a thicker skin – not sure which, but either way – it's better now.
Hang in there.


River April 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Small talk is over-rated. It's just another way to fill the silence that many people are uncomfortable with.
The cappucino froth will return in its own good time.


Christine April 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Losing the capacity for small talk a worry? What's to apologise about? Silence? You're busy. There's so much stuff to do within your mind. People know that. They will wait. And one day the shouting and dischordances within you will abate and you will hear and see something approaching harmony. But different to what it was before.


A Dose of Dannie April 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I am not really that much into small talk at the moment either lori! I know you will be back
as what Rachel said we thinking of you still and you are in our hearts & thoughts ;-) xxxx ((HUGS)) <3


Lady_Phoenix April 28, 2011 at 1:12 am

Hi Lori,

This is my first comment to you but I have been reading your blog for quite some time. I just wanted to let you know that i'm thinking of you and your little ones.

Grief of this magnitude is such a hard thing to overcome. I've been going through a similar type of loss and grief myself. It's been 5 years and it doesn't get any easier but I think everyday i'm getting stronger because im still surviving.

A phrase that i love; "The people who matter, don't mind and the people who mind, don't matter"

People should understand you need to deal with this in your own way and you shouldn't be apologising for it. If they cared, then they wouldn't be upset or angry at how you need to cope.


Rachel April 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

By the same token, don't assume that those of us who aren't calling aren't thinking of you, spying on you via Twitter, FB and the blog, and holding you silently in our hearts.


Miss Pink April 27, 2011 at 9:42 am

Don't apologise, because there is nothing to apologise for. People in your life? They don't mind. They may not "get it" but they don't mind. They know you're in your own hell and the awkwardness? It's because they can't take your pain away, not because you have hurt or upset them.


Kakka April 27, 2011 at 9:41 am

One day you will look in the mirror and the smile will be back in your eyes and not just on your mouth, one day the flashbacks will become less, one day you will pick up the phone and call someone just to chat. Until those days are here you do what you do to keep going. Those that really love you will understand and wait. Those that don't are not worth the effort.


Salamander April 27, 2011 at 8:09 am

You have already allowed so many of us into your heart, in times when most people would curl in a mute ball. Say whatever you need to say, to whomever you please…or not. We are all here loving you right back xxx


Kristina Hughes April 27, 2011 at 8:07 am

As someone who doesn't know you as the Lori in the Before, I think you're just brilliant as you are now. Of course, this is blogland, so it's not the same but this "You" is pretty damn engaging, interesting, funny, honest – I could go on…. I hear what you say about the small talk, but seriously, I agree with "Being Me" that it's mainly gap-filling and fluff.
Keep doing what you're doing – the wheels keep turning. I do hope the smiles will reach your eyes soon xxx


Kelloggsville April 27, 2011 at 7:17 am

I guess one day you will wake up and feel more like the pigeon than the statue. I think a lot of small talk is highly overrated but I also guess it will return in time, probably forced by child related mummy mixing. Big love to you today. xx


Sandy April 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I haven't lost anyone close to me and I hate small-talk. I don't really care for many people, in general, because they are all about small-talk. I prefer the real, the genuine, the gritty stuff.. not the fluff.

You aren't alone.


Karen April 27, 2011 at 4:24 am

I think, anyone with half a brain and a heaping of true compassion has already sensed this about you. Those who are close to you that is. I don't think that we give people who know us enough credit… They still love you without a doubt. :D


In Real Life April 27, 2011 at 1:07 am

I know what you mean. *HUGS*


Brenda April 27, 2011 at 12:57 am

You will be back, my love. You will.xxxx


whiterabbit April 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm

For what it's worth, you write beautifully. This phase you're going through, I think, is part of the healing process. This too shall pass.


Mrs J April 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Alot of what you have described is exactly how I felt when I was grieving and in the depths of depression (not saying you are depressed, just saying that I can identify with what you are feeling).

Small talk can be draining, so if you don't have the energy, don't feel obliged. Moments of levity can cause pain, because you think "how the f*** can I smile or laugh when something so horrible has happened to me?

Those feelings of disconnectedness are part of your self-preservation. As you heal, those feelings will fade.


Georgia April 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I think those that love you, the ones that are calling you, probably aren't expecting small talk, but just want you to know that they are there for you. And if, and when you are ready to talk about the things that don't really matter, they will be there waiting for you. I don't think they would expect an apology for something you've had no control over, something you didn't cause, but that you're living the consequences of.


A Daft Scots Lass April 26, 2011 at 11:11 pm

You shouldn't have to apologise. You are doing what you can right now.


Fox in the City April 26, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Those who truly love you understand that you are not the same person you were Before. They understand that every day is a struggle for you and your babies and they love you even more than Before because you are struggling, because you are not giving up.


Being Me April 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm

This might seem strange, but losing the small-talk (seeing there was no real need for it) was a massive unexpected gift. A relief. You will get it back. The mundane (and the pleasure in it) will creep in. It might be a while, it could take years yet…. But your instinct will pull you back to it. My wish for you is that this part, at the very least, is not rushed. And as for the 'depth' you see in others because of their small talk? Hmmmm, for the first time I think I have to go ahead and disagree with you there, dear Lori. I think it is actually quite the opposite (that it is possibly lack of depth/connection that compels us all to fill gaps and probing silences with more small talk). But that's obviously just one other perspective.

Much love to you xxx

Reply April 26, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Beautiful post. I'm sure those who love you understand and will wait for you.


Glowless @ Where’s My Glow April 26, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Imagine the people who have just found your blog through the Australian – they've just come in and found this brilliant post… sweet and sad and honest and perfect. They'll be hooked just like the rest of us xxx


Crystal Cheverie April 27, 2011 at 1:51 am

Just a big, squishy HUG!!!

I believe that you'll be back.


Toni April 27, 2011 at 12:03 am

I felt like the things I wanted to talk about were so big they physically couldn't fit coming out of my mouth. So they stayed trapped inside. And behind them was all the small talk.
It got easier. It'll get easier for you, too. You're constantly finding a New Normal right now.
The people who really love you will wait.


thatblogyoudo April 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Those who care for you will still be here, when your ready, even if it takes you 10 years i'll be here. x o x o


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