Dear Carolyn: I used to be fairly good at making small talk, and had to do it often. Since being a working parent of young kids, though, I find I just absolutely cannot stand social events where I’m going to have to spend precious minutes asking questions of strangers. I just feel the minutes ticking away, and can’t bring myself to care at all what the other person is saying
I do have actual friends, and find that I would rather spend my limited free time having real conversations with them about our deeper and more private feelings. Do you have any suggestions for making these encounters less brutal?