Casual Conversation

opinion 1
How do I get better at small talk with MB/DB? I like them and they like me. I'm very shy and only talk about the kids day and kind of rush on. I don't want them to think me rude or that I don't like them.


Nanny Jen said...

Perhaps you can ask them how their day at work was...or go into more detail regarding what happened during the day with the kids.

Phoenix said...

ask how they are doing. Look around their house. Do they have pictures of them sleding or at a ski resort? How about them at the beach? Do you notice hiking boots anywhere?

In order to effectively speak to someone you need to know what they like. I am very good at judging people by what they are wearing and i pay attention to very small things like if they are sporting a wedding band. When you find something THEY like. Talk about it.

For instance. Say you find a picture of them on some tropical island. Casually mention the beach.

Hi. How are you? Any fun things this weekend?

Now in polite conversation they will return the question. blah blah blah what about you?

Then you go into something they like (whether or not you like it doesn't matter) then you say well I was going to head to the beach blah blah blah.

Find a common interest. Make yours up if you have to. Then you will begin to break down the wall. You are not personalizing yourself with them

its ok sometimes said...

You know, I have worked for many lovely, and priviledged families. I have since climbed a little higher up the ladder interms of education and now only work 1.5 days a week. My husband is a surgeon. Some families either love it or, well, the wives get weird about it. Yes, you have a nanny in your home who is working bc I believe in working hard and LOVE kids. Plus it works better with my school schedule,usually. I worked for a mom who lived in an OK home. She was super cheap and pretentious. How do those 2 go together anyway? I would come to work in a nice summer dress-I just had a baby to care for, from nicer places or a good pair of diesel jeans and cole haan flats. She would talk about napa and I would talk about hom much I loved napa. She would talk about skiing, and I would talk about how adorable the ski bunnies at Deer Valley were last Christmas. It later became clear that my mentioning the same pleasures in life irked her. I later just started saying oh that is nice, and oh how wonderful that must be, as I guess it somehow bothered her. (PS. not a name dropper Im just giving context). I feel that SOME parents, not all, can get uncomfortable or judgemental the more they know about you. Initially M was very pleased to know i am a surgeons wife. But it soon became weird once she realized we ran in more relevant social circles and that pretty soon we would be living in a nicer home.

So now, the family I've been with for 6 moths will say, oh i was at this place and talked about my lovely nanny, and realized they were your friends. And all I will say is, "oh yes she is so kind and lovely. Our husbands work together."

My point in all of this is simply: be selective of what you share. SOmetimes agreeing and nodding is better than opinions or shared stories.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I think it is important to find the right balance between small talk and sharing personal details. With the first family I nannied for, they were so nosey and would ask me every detail about my life. At first I didn't mind sharing because I think they just wanted to know more about who I was but then it got too personal. In contrast, another family I nannied for, most of our conversation was small talk and often got awkward with a lot of weird silences. With a family like that, I agree with what Phoenix said about finding out their interests and basing your conversation on those topics, making sure that it isn't obvious that you're doing that.

Also, a lot of your conversation at first can be about the children and once you get comfortable speaking more openly with them, you can move to other topics. My last suggestion is that you don't have to feel that you have to have long conversations with them everyday. At first I felt obligated to chat with them when they were around but then I got rid of that idea real quick. As long as you are relatively open with them and they don't think you are being oddly quiet, I think you'll be all set.

NannyPants said...

Are you new to this job? It was awkward when I first started because I felt like I didn't have a lot to say, but now neither my bosses nor I can shut up! It gets better and much more comfortable just give it some time. :)

Z said...

I feel your pain! The worst part of my day is having to talk to MB/DB at the beginning and end of the day. I hate hate hate making stupid small talk with adults, this is one of the reasons I work with kids. I can communicate fantastically with a barely verbal one year old, but I feel tongue tied and awkward and stupid talking to adults. Too bad I can't find any babies without parents LOL!

Kids are always coming up to me to play with me and my charges at the park. It cracks me up when the parents come running over and say, "oh sorry, are they bothering you?" yet when some moronic adult starts prattling away about their stupid life, they never wonder if THEY are bothering me!

the SittaWell said...

Hhahhahahaha. Talk about the charges and how cute they are. Or talk about country music or the new Doritos Tacos at Tao Bell. Jeez, if I can't talk then pretend to have lost our voice and write on a small chalkboard.
Waaaaa I can't talk. Poor me. You're a baby sitter, sit the baby. That's what I do, and I do it well. If my mb talks to me I mention the above topics, if she doesn't care about Taco Bell I tell her to F herself!

Bethany said...

I wouldn't worry too much about it especially if you just started these things tend to build up over time. Start with your charges day. Talk about weather, Yahoo' trending topics. wish them a nice evening and be on your way