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I want to talk a little bit more about small talk.
For some people, asking “how was your day?” is a low stress way to start a conversation. I found that often what the other person wants is connection, not information about your day, though they’re using that as a starting point to get a connection. When you reframe it that way, it’s possible to reply with a low stress response that continues the conversation, establishing safety, and creating connection without getting into things that you don’t want to or boring you out of your mind.
Here’s a few options that sprang to mind: You might say, “Nothing much interesting happened, but I found out this cool thing!” And then talk about the cool thing that you learned, or you might say, “It was good”, “fine”, “boring”, “sucked…”, “So I would like to…” and then suggest another activity or another topic of conversation. Or you might say, “I don’t have the energy to get into that right now, what I would love to talk with you about is…” and then talk about something else.
Another option is the standard turnaround, “How was yours?” And then listening to the response enough to learn about what irritates them, makes them happy, etc. as a way to establish another point of connection with them. You might get more specific, asking “How was your morning?” It has a higher probability of seeking a positive response because mornings tend to feel better. And because it’s more specific, you might get different kinds of responses than just “how was your day?” would.
Again, if connection is your goal, the info is simply one means of fostering that goal. The small talk part of the conversation doesn’t have to be long, but it can be a low stress way for some people to lead up to the deeper, more vulnerable aspects of what they want to talk about. Getting into the meat of the conversation that would be (for some of us) more enjoyable.
(I have another video on small talk. You might want to check it out if you’re interested in this topic. [Link to post])