语死早如何和别人闲聊:试试中度交谈(双语)

2016年03月21日 10:49 新浪教育 微博
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  A couple of weeks ago, I went to someone's birthday party at a bar after work. The birthday girl was a friend of a friend — I was there to hang out with the friend. As often happens at such events, I found myself standing next to someone I didn't know and positioned in a way where we basically had to talk to one another. It would have been weird, otherwise — we had been accidentally shunted out of the main conversational circle (it was a small gathering) and weren't close enough to its center to be able to pretend to listen to what was going on. We were marooned with one another.

  几周前,我下了班到酒吧参加一位朋友的生日聚会。过生日的女孩是朋友的朋友——我只是跟着自己朋友去玩的。我又一次遇到了在这种场合下经常发生的事,那就是站在一位陌生人身旁,而且好像非要交谈一下不可。如果不说话会有点奇怪——因为我们碰巧都在主要的谈话圈子外面(那是一个小聚会),我们离圈子中心太远了,没法假装成在听别人交谈。我们躲不掉彼此交谈了。

  These sorts of conversations are weird. When the connection between you and the other person is tenuous, as it was between myself and this woman, both parties know there's a pretty good chance this will be the only conversation the two will ever have with one another. You will meet, talk briefly about your jobs or the weather, part ways, and then, in the long run, live the rest of your lives and die without ever speaking again.

  这种交谈是非常怪异的。你和那个人之间没什么关系,就像我和这位女士一样,我们俩都知道很可能这一辈子只会和对方说这么一回话。你们会相遇,简单地聊聊工作或天气,然后分开,再然后,在相当长的一段时间里,过着各自的日子,至死也不会再交谈。

  Our conversation quickly fell into the usual rut: What do you do oh that's cool here's what I do wow okay. She said she worked at a small museum that contained the papers and various artsy artifacts of some deceased rich guy (I can't even remember which one). Without even thinking about it, I asked, “What's your least favorite piece in the collection?” Something shifted in the conversation. She said something like, “Nobody's ever asked me that. People always ask what my favorite piece is.” I mentally high-fived myself, usually an awkward person who does not thrive in small-talk scenarios, for having at least thrown things off their usual course.

  我们的对话也很快陷入了惯常的套路:“你是做什么的呀!”“真棒!”“我是做这个的”“哇,真好!”她说她在一个小博物馆工作,馆里收藏了某位过世富豪(我甚至想不起是谁了)的文字和各种各样的手工艺品。我想都没想就问道:“你最不喜欢哪件作品?”这场谈话的氛围变了。她好像接着说:“从来没有人问过我这个,大家一般都问我最喜欢哪件作品。”我在心里给自己点了个赞,因为我通常是个不擅长聊天的人,今天至少说了点别人想不到的话。

  Little did I know there was a name for what I had done: medium talk. “What kind of questions would you ask to make medium talk, instead of small talk?” asked user Sentinel_P, and the query garnered more than 3,500 comments.

  我并不知道自己的做法还有一个名字:中度聊天(medium talk)。一位名为Sentinel_P的用户在网站上提问:“如果你想展开一场中度聊天(medium talk)而不是闲谈聊天(small talk),你会问些什么问题呢?”这个提问贴得到了3500多条回复。

  The question got the reaction it did because it walks a tricky line: Everyone has an intuitive sense of what “medium talk” might mean, but the term isn't fully defined. That tension leads to some fascinating answers. Most people seem to interpret the question the way you'd expect — how do you lift a fleeting and likely unimportant-in-the-grand-scheme conversation up out of dulls-ville so that you'll at least remember or learn something from it?

  这个问题之所以能得到这么多回复,是因为它问得非常巧妙:每个人都能从直觉上理解“中度聊天”一词可能的含义,但是这个术语又没有准确的释义。这个小矛盾带来了一些精彩的答案。大多数人好像是以你期待的方式阐释了这个问题——你怎样才能让短暂的假大空聊天摆脱无聊模式,至少聊完了能记住点什么或者学到点东西?

  Who knows? Maybe medium talk will even lead to large talk if you get trapped next to the right person at the right time.

  谁知道呢?如果你在正确的时间和正确的人困在一起,也许中度聊天还会变成深度谈心呢。

  (来源:沪江英语)

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