A brief exploration, choose-your-own-adventure style, as mapped out by an introvert new to a client-focused job.

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You: “Hi! I’m [insert name]! How’re you doing today?” (the contraction makes you seem casual and cool and relatable)

Them: “Hi. I’m [insert name].” (they have just told you their name in order to be admitted into the office, but usually conversational conventions prompt them to tell you again)

You: “Nice to meet you! Where’re you coming in from today?”

Them: “[insert name of place].”

You say:

OPTION 1: “Oh cool! I live in Brooklyn too. Where at?”

Find #1 below.

OPTION 2: “Oh, [insert name of state]? Is that near [name of town you vaguely have heard of]?”

Find #2 below.

OPTION 3: “Wow, that’s far. How was your trip in?”

Find #3 below.

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#1

Them: “[insert name of neighborhood or subway line].”

You say:

SUBOPTION 1: “Oh, cool! I’m at this-and-such stop on that train.”

SUBOPTION 2: “Oh, cool! I’m right on the border of [name of their neighborhood].”

Them: “Oh, okay.”

Find Conclusion below.

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#2

SUBOPTION 1. They say, “Not really,” and then proceed to give you lots of directions and explanations using town names and local landmarks that mean nothing to you.

You: “Oh, yeah, no, I’m not sure where that is. I [used to live near there/used to live in that state/my boyfriend’s family lives in that state].

Them: “Oh, okay.”

Find Conclusion below.

SUBOPTION 2. Them: “Yes, it’s right near there, actually.”

You: “I [used to live near there/used to live in that state/my boyfriend’s family lives in that state].”

Them: “Oh, okay.”

Find Conclusion below.

#3

SUBOPTION 1. They laugh self-deprecatingly and you laugh sympathetically. [This is if they are late for their appointment]

You: “Yeah, trains, amIright?”

Find Conclusion below.

SUBOPTION 2. Them: “It was fine.”

You: “Great!”

Find Conclusion below.

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Conclusion

You: “Yeah, so, um, do you have your paperwork with you?”

You collect their paperwork.

You: “Cold/hot/beautiful out there, huh?”

*

After several months, you have made the brilliant discovery that although no one really learns much about the other through the where-are-you-from? game, people are always willing or at least prepared to play it. Fail-safe small talk subject. Win.

After graduating with an English degree, Amy (Allen) Frieson (’10) moved to New York City and spent several exhilarating years working in children’s book publishing. Now, she works as a career consultant and has much more time for writing, reading, wandering the city, cooking non-vegetarian meals (a new thing), dreaming about apartment renovations, and leading worship along with her husband at their NYC CRC.

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