I took Ali to Dairy Queen the other day. As we ate our Chicken Fingers and free-Dilly-Bar-with-a-Kid’s-Meal-that-Ali-found-to-be-too-cold-so-I-HAD-to-eat-it, I was within earshot of a couple of guys standing near the counter, waiting for their food.

One was a somewhat stocky and short, mid-40’s looking guy. He struck up a conversation with the taller, skinnier, younger-than-me guy, apparently starting off by saying that he looked familiar.

They introduced themselves, first and last name.

Older guy (no implication about his age intended, he was just older THAN younger guy) asks where he works. Younger Guy tells him.

Older Guy: “Ah! That must be why you look familiar. I’ve been in there before. So where did you go to school?”

And they begin this conversation, still waiting on their food. Older Guy lets forth a continual barrage of questions – ones that my scared-of-small-talk-with-strangers-self cringed at, mainly because it wasn’t a two-way conversation – Older Guy was asking the questions, and Younger Guy was answering them dutifully.

Older Guy probes and gets Younger Guy to unveil his life in detail in those few moments of Dairy-Queen-induced intimacy:

  • His entire work history
  • His school background (which included seminary)
  • Exactly where he lived
  • The denomination in which he planned on serving
  • His parent’s beliefs
  • How young guy went from being Baptist to Episcopalian
  • All about his wife
  • Where he met his wife
  • What he plans on doing with his life
  • What his wife plans on doing with her life
  • Kids or no kids and when
  • Boxers or Briefs

Okay, maybe not the last one – but all of the other ones were most definitely discussed in-depth.

All in the five minutes that they were waiting for their DQ.

Finally, as I’m sitting their dumbfounded by all of the personal information that young guy was willing to share with Older Probing Stranger Guy who could speak at least 90 questions-per-minute while NOT sharing reciprocally, THE moment happened.

Older Guy: “Well, I gotta go. But Hey! I’d like to stay in touch! Can you give me your phone number?”

Me: Whhaaaaaaat?!?!?!

Young Guy: “Uh, Sure! Hold on and I’ll write it down.”

Me: Seriously. Whhhaaaaat?!?!?!!!?

Had either one of them looked in my direction at that moment, they would have seen my jaw, having smashed through the table, sitting on The Dairy Queen’s somewhat sticky floor.

I realize that I am the world’s worst small-talker, and I realize that I hardly ever start conversations with random strangers but that some people do and that’s okay.

But. Seriously. Older Guy: This is NOT normal behavior.

And Young Guy? You could’ve totally said no to giving Older Guy your phone number, especially since he offered no reasoning, vague or otherwise, as to why he would want to call you in the future.

I was overcome by being in The Presence of Greatness Weirdness.

27 thoughts on “The Small-Talker.

  1. I can't believe Younger Gave gave up his digits! Hopefully you won't see him on the news as a crime victim. Yikes.

  2. Whoa. Really?

    I mean I'm a pretty open person and make friends relatively easy, but seriously? Not giving my number to you unless I know you.

  3. Wow! That guy was gutsy!

    I'm sure glad you engaged in small talk with me almost two years ago! We've become great friends!

  4. Eek. I'm uncomfortable just reading this.

    Especially the part where your jaw was on the nasty floor. Eww.

    Too weird and forthcoming on younger guy's part.

  5. I think what's odd is the location. Now if this interaction took place in church, it would not have been odd at all. I was on a leadership team of a church, and we were all about growing community and getting people plugged in. So we were trained to do exactly what older guy did, (along with then introduce them to a few people that they may have something in common with) and then follow up and actually call them and see if we could get them plugged into one of the small groups at church. So again, if this would have happened in a church, it wouldn't have been so crazy, but DQ….yeah, odd. :)

  6. 2 thoughts

    1. Mormons sometimes do this (I don't mean to offend, I love mormons) but when I waited tables, I encountered some Mormon missionaries who could get pretty invasive. They will totally call too.

    2. I'm hungry and now I want DQ. Will you bring me some?

  7. Okay, that was actually just creepy. Younger guy shouldn't have given out all his 411 to stranger-man, and he certainly shouldn't have given out his phone number. Didn't he watch Unsolved Mysteries with his parents as a child??

  8. I had a roommate while I was living in DC who was very much a small talker. He would strike up conversations with the most random people, and some of them would get really in-depth. There were a couple in grocery stores that I wanted to kick him for repeatedly.

  9. maybe younger guy is the kind of guy that just can't say no to people, but would have no problems giving out a fake phone number…oh yeah, that's what I would have done.

  10. To me that is very, very scarry. Young guy was way to innocent for his own good. This really is worrisome.

  11. freaky, at least for America anyway.

    People ask me for my number all the time so I can teach them english. I just tell them, "I'm so sorry, do you see all these children? I'm so busy…"


  12. That is very weird! I'm awful at small talk too!
    Maybe Young Guy saw it as a way to witness to Old Guy.

  13. Younger guy must have felt some kind of connection or felt like he was meeting a need of older guy.
    BUT you're gonna need a better physical description for older guy if younger guy ends up a victim on the news. Better write it down now.

  14. Okay, that is creepy. I am really bad a small talk too. I definitely don't like it in stores but I'm bad even at parties and events where it is required. It's hard b/c I feel like it is my duty as a good little CFO's wife at community events, but I am such an introvert it is hard. I really need to work on it. :P I won't be giving anyone my phone number though. :)

  15. Maybe Young Guy gave him a random phone number. I do that all the time…phone number when needed at checkout line? Yeah, just change the last digit or two. I'm sure the people that live at THAT house just LOVE me. ;-)

  16. OK, first impressions of a situation. You NEVER know where God is going to show up. It sounds as though there was an immediate spiritual bond between the two guys. You know how you can "sense" if something isn't on the up and up.

    You never know if Older Guy needed encouragement or perhaps Younger Guy asked God for an opportunity to share his passions with people he meets.

    You just never know.

  17. It's good to know how you all feel about me. My husband could kick me sometimes because I'm all about the questions! I can't help it, I just want to know!! I would have never asked for the number, though. Maybe an e-mail or something…

  18. I am with you Rachel, I am terrible at small talk and hate it when strangers start talking to me at stores and such. I never know what to say. I certainly would not have given out my phone number.

  19. Ok, even me with my utter fascination with other people's lives wouldn't go that far!

    I think I might be scared.

  20. Hee hee, perhaps Young Guy was smart and "accidentally" gave Older Guy the wrong phone number.

    Or the phone number of someone Young Guy dislikes. :)

  21. This was disturbing to me as well. I don't like it when people pry for information, and it's gotten pretty personal lately. When one is pregnant, people feel the compulsion to ask all sorts of personal and embarrassing questions and don't seem to think a thing of it.

  22. Happens to me all the time…but you know that cause you've witnessed it a bazillion times. Luckily for me, I've developed quite the skill of SHUTTING IT DOWN…immediately! I hope no one reads this comment and thinks I'm a you know what. Just shy and private, and did I mention PRIVATE!!!

  23. OK, I am going to make certain that my son (20) is NOT giving out his phone number to strangers. Weird!

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