Small Talk… Or Better Not?
Scandinavians do not appreciate small talk the way Italians do. Most Swedes, Fins, and Norwegians have conversations to truly converse, not just to fill time or interrupt a silence. It’s not because they are intrinsically rude, small talk is just not part of their culture. On the contrary, if someone asks you how you’re doing, they truly care to hear that answer. Small talk is not very common in Germany as well, where people prefer to get down to business.
Brazilians are particularly fond of small talk and will strike up a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere.
Sports are a safe topic in most countries, including in Arab countries, where it is common to engage in a lot of small talk.
Russians are turned off by this seemingly superficial chatter. In Russia, they prefer to discuss an in-depth hot topic rather than the upcoming weather.
In China, however, people thoroughly enjoy exchanging pleasantries. In the business world, first meetings among Chinese associates are rarely productive, and are considered more of an opportunity to meet one another and get comfortable. Small talk is appreciated throughout much of Asia, including in India, where it’s polite to ask about social matters, such as weekend or vacation plans.