General Topics of Conversation--Why is Weather the Most Common Topic?
I don't know how many times I've stepped outside on a break from my job, and invariably the first thing I hear is the following conversation:
"Well, do you think it's going to rain today?"
"I don't know, maybe, but who knows."
"That's true, you never know, it could."
Of course, I'm thinking, "who cares?" I'm looking back and forth between the people talking because one of my pet peeves is a conversation about weather. I was always taught it's hard to predict the weather patterns in the Midwest, so I don't like to have my schedule dictated by the weather report unless it's more than apparent a blizzard is on its way.
Talking about the effects of a disastrous storm is one thing, but talking about two gray clouds in the sky is like hearing chalk against the blackboard to me. I have always liked substance in a conversation and I do realize that the weather is a general subject most people have in common.
So Why Do People Talk About the Weather?
No matter what venue, even in a passing conversation with a stranger, you might hear, "I can't believe I left my umbrella in the car, just look at that rain!"
This year, for the first time, the law firm I work in shut down for two days because of a blizzard that kept dumping snow on Kansas City. The effects of this weather circumstance deserved attention and we were so paralyzed by it, we couldn't help but notice it, talk about it, and in some instances, even curse it.
Regardless of the season, we're making comments about the weather to the stranger next to us. It is the one subject that most people have in common. In some cases, it breaks the ice when someone is trying to engage in conversation. Is it nervous behavior? Do we say, "Gee, did it ever get up to 90 degrees today?" In my mind, if someone spends 10 minutes talking about the weather, then that someone has an underused imagination if wind speed is the only thing that comes to mind. Seriously. Sometimes it's better not to say anything at all but for "good morning." I'd rather hear, for starters, "How's your day going?"
Talking about the weather is a safe conversation. I have always liked to engage in conversation that is less banal. For example, if I walk outside into strong winds and my hair is blowing all over my face blocking my view, if someone outside says, "It sure is windy today," I generally am thinking, "uh, no, not really, my hair is just energy driven."
People are insecure and I find just by observation, most of the time, a subject of interest can be realized and a conversation can be born based on that subject.