April 20, 2020

Making Small Talk, Eating Pistachios, Recognizing Celebrities, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle eating pistachios, making small talk, telling people they have toilet paper stuck to them, returning dropped calls, correcting incorrect terminology, recognizing celebrities, handling annoying phone calls, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Eating pistachios
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Making small talk
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Should you tell someone they have toilet paper stuck to them? When a call drops, who should call back? Is it OK to correct people who use the terms "bug" and "insect" incorrectly?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Not recognizing a celebrity, dialing while talking
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Excited fans, new Patreon members




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you eat pistachios the wrong way? Do you make small talk awkward? Do you correct others? Were you raised by wolves?! Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better
When we have to live together
We can all use a little help
So people don't ask themselves
Were you raised by wolves?

Nick: Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: We're in New York today, and let's just get right down to it!

Leah: Let's get in it!

Nick: For our amuse-bouche, today-

Leah: [Singing] Amuse-bouche ...

Nick: Leah, there is a bowl of something in front of you. Please, for our listeners, describe what you see.

Leah: I see two lovely little glass bowls-

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: -and in one glass bowl-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: -the glass bowl further from me-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: There are pistachios.

Nick: Okay. Leah, what is the correct way to eat a pistachio?

Leah: With my mouth.

Nick: [Giggling] Okay.

Leah: I'm going to go like this.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: And then, I'm going to go like this-

Nick: She's grabbing a pistachio. She broke it apart-

Leah: I broke it apart.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I'm going to eat the-

Nick: She put it in her mouth.

Leah: -the non-shell part.

Nick: Okay, that's- thank you for clarifying.

Leah: Then, I'm putting the shells into the-

Nick: The little bowl, the leftover bowl. So, this is a trick question. There is no correct way to eat a pistachio!

Leah: Oh, no!

Nick: [Giggling] Well, at least according to Miss Manners.

Leah: Miss Manners!

Nick: So, Miss Manners, who I reference a lot because she's my etiquette guru, I think-

Leah: Okay.

Nick: I'm most aligned with her and her attitude, and so-

Leah: I'm clearly most aligned with the wolves.

Nick: [Giggling] Well, that's why we're different. So, she wrote a book called, "The Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior," and at the back of this book is this wonderful section, which she calls, "Answers to Questions Nobody Asked."

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: It's this long list of just random things about topics that no one asked her about, but that she wants you to know about. She says, "There is no known correct way to eat pistachio nuts. Nevertheless, they're delicious. The pistachio nut must therefore be nature's way of teaching us self-control. If so, it doesn't work."

Leah: WOW!

Nick: She's into pistachio nuts. Yeah. I did go back further in time. So, Emily Post does weigh in on the idea of nuts, in general. She says that, "Unshelled nuts have no place at a formal lunch or dinner party." So, I guess you just shouldn't have them at all if it's formal, but if you're going to eat them, there's no right or wrong way to do it.

Leah: Can you imagine me meeting Emily Post and her saying that ...? I wouldn't even be able to maintain a straight face.

Nick: Um, I would love that [Laughing] when you talk about like, "Who would you want to have dinner with?" I would want to watch you guys have dinner-

Leah: I would be like ... [Laughing] I would be like, "Are we even that worked up about nuts?!"

Nick: Yeah, oh ... This is the least of what she gets worked up about. But that does not mean that this is lawless. So, you cannot take the shells and throw them on the ground.

Leah: No.

Nick: You can't throw them at your other diners-

Leah: And don't spit the shells out.

Nick: You can't spit the shells out-

Leah: Which I've seen many times.

Nick: Yeah, so don't do that. I think the same rules apply for like pitted olives. You would want to take the shell, and you put it in a separate bowl.

Leah: The pit.

Nick: The pit, or the shell. So, we want to decant it into something else. If you're hosting, and you're serving pistachios, I think it's nice, as I've done, to offer two bowls - one for the whole pistachios and then, one for the shells. So-

Leah: Yes!>

Nick: That's it. That's your amuse-bouche for today.

Leah: It was lovely, and it was tasty.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to go deep.

Leah: So. Deep.

Nick: For today's deep dive, today, we got a great question from you guys on the topic of small talk. I thought it was so kind of interesting that we're going to make it our question of etiquette today.

Leah: Fantastic.

Nick: The question is: "I recognize the importance of polite chitchat, but I'm still not very good at it. While avoiding the stilted pseudo-job-interview speak, or the earnest freshman-year icebreaker questions, what tips do you have for small talk?" I thought this was so interesting, I wrote this person back, and I wanted some follow up.

Leah: I loved your follow-up email.

Nick: I wanted to know what being good at small talk means to her. Like, what is her idea of good small talk? Then, I also wanted to know what was happening with her small talk that made her feel like she wasn't good at it.

Leah: These are great questions.

Nick: Because it's like you might just be feeling this way, but it's actually not definitively bad.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, I kind of just wanted to separate it out. She said that when she's encountered excellent small talkers, she always felt so charmed; that they left folks feeling heard, and seen, and more at ease. She remarked that there was no awkward gaps in the conversation; the conversation doesn't drag, or get dull, or get cut off too soon, and that there seems to be a nice exchange and back-and-forth between everybody involved. So, that was kind of her idea of what nice small talk was. Then, what she felt was happening with her own small talk was that she felt bored, or she felt like she was boring other people, and she felt like, sometimes, she was grilling. She was feeling like she didn't want to ask questions in such a way that it actually felt like it was prying, so she let the pendulum swing too far the other way and then, actually just wouldn't ask much of anything. Then, she just felt self-conscious. She was worried about maybe talking too much or coming across as aloof, or cagey. This was kind of how she was feeling about it. I thought this was very interesting.

Leah: I think it's very interesting.

Nick: So, I guess first let's just define what is small talk.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: I guess, for me, it's sort of polite, light conversation about noncontroversial topics.

Leah: Like at a party.

Nick: Like at a cocktail party, or at a dinner party, at an art gallery opening. Just light. It's not a date. It's not hanging out with friends. It's just sort of this light, innocuous conversation. That's small talk.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: For me, I think the goal for small talk is to find common ground as quickly as possible. I think that's my goal, always, when I'm going in there. I think of it like being a janitor with a huge ring of keys on my waist belt.

Leah: Mm.

Nick: In small talk, when I'm talking to you, I just want to figure out what is the key that I have that will unlock the conversation with you. So, I'm just searching for clues in what you've said, or what you're wearing, or something about our environment that may unlock the conversation for you. If you say that you're a computer programmer, great. Let's talk about HTML; if you say that you love archery, like, "Oh, I love Bhutan and their archery team; or if it's about typefaces, like, "Oh, gosh, the kerning and Comic Sans ..." Whatever it is, whatever you mention, I got something for you; let's talk about it. So, I just need from you the key that will unlock our conversation. That's how I think about it. Once you give that to me, I'm good. I got something in my Rolodex for you. So, I think that's one way to think about it. The first thing to think about, then, is just being observant. Small talk is really about listening; just listening for those clues because people will give them to you. If you are just totally out of options, the one thing we always have in common is where we are. We are in the same place. We are standing in the same room. So, where are we? Why are we here? What brought us here? Have we been here before?

Leah: Who do we know here?

Nick: Who do we know here? So, start there. That avoids questions about like, "Oh, how's the weather?" And it just establishes rapport because chances are you're both there for some similar reason.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, it's a work cocktail party; it's a wedding; it's an art thing ... Whatever it is. So, I would always start there.

Leah: I also think that if you feel unconfident about- which I struggle with small talk.

Nick: Really?

Leah: Yep.

Nick: I find that hard to believe.

Leah: I ... I really do.

Nick: How is that possible?

Leah: I get very anxious about it. I often want to stay on the side. It's really something I've worked on.

Nick: So, what happens for you when you are at a cocktail party?

Leah: Well, I don't go.

Nick: You just won't go ...

Leah: I have to go. I now try to go to more social events, so I've specifically worked on things.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: One of them is I have a very intense listening face.

Nick: True.

Leah: So, I've worked on, when I'm doing small talk, I think of it as- like you said, it's a skill set.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I actually remember this, it's a quote-ish.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: The take away from the book by Gavin de Becker, which is called, "The Gift of Fear" ... He was talking about how people are nice; being charming is a skill.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: So, if a person charmed you, which is the word-

Nick: Yes.

Leah: -that's something they worked on.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: I mean, that you could be better at it than other people. So, I specifically work on maintaining not my natural listening face, which seems to put people off.

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: I smile, and I often just like to listen, but I- like you said, I try to ask questions, if I can't immediately see what- know something about somebody that they would be doing or interested in, I immediately try to, as you said, speak to the event. How do they know the person ...?

Nick: Yes.

Leah: Something that we can talk about that could get us running.

Nick: Right.

Leah: This person said they really enjoy people. They think people are interesting. So, if you feel insecure that it's you, I would say focus on your enjoyment of other people.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: That way you don't have to focus on feeling like you're doing it badly.

Nick: Yes, and I will say, I have encountered many people in small talk, where they are awkward with it, or they're shy, and all that. It makes my job much harder, and I would much rather you not give me one-word answers. You will make the situation so much more comfortable for all of us if you just participate a little. I'll pick up the slack. I'll do that, but I need you to give me a little. So, that, I think, is something - for other people who feel like they're not good at this - to note is you are actually making this much harder on all of us, if you do shut down. If you can just sort of suck it up and pretend for a hot second that this is not awkward for you, you will actually make it less awkward in reality. I think, then, you will actually feel comfortable for real.

Leah: Yeah, you can go home, and be like, "I did a good job!"

Nick: Yeah!

Leah: Sometimes-

Nick: And you'll actually have a nice time, I think.

Leah: Yeah. I'll be like, "You don't have to ..." because this is a skill I've really been working on. I'll say, "You don't have to ..." I'll give myself an amount of time, so I don't feel like I just have to do the whole thing because that just seems sort of unmanageable to me, you know what I mean?

Nick: You mean like a time at a party [crosstalk]

Leah: Yeah, I'll be like, "You just have to go in; just talk to three new people." You know what I mean? Then, you can [inaudible]. You know what I mean? So, I don't feel like it's overwhelming, the amount of conversating and small talking I'm going to have to do. I just set small goals to slowly get better at it.

Nick: Okay, yes.

Leah: I've also given myself permission- I am a dork. I'm probably going to say something silly, but if you're smiling, and listening, and not being rude to people, people don't care.

Nick: Oh, yeah, no, it's light. Yes. Also, in small talk, it is important, if somebody does say something controversial, just- you kinda just gloss right over it.

Leah: I mean ... I have things I love, and they're whatever topics, but people do still ... Movies?

Nick: Movies, okay.

Leah: Music, like if you just saw something that you really liked, you could just share that and then see if somebody recently saw something they liked ...

Nick: Yes. I mean, in general, when I'm trying to unlock your door with my keys, I just want to know what you're interested in.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Just give me a topic area. Chicago sports teams. Okay, fine.

Leah: I'll also ... Sometimes, people will really be into something, like you mentioned, that font that you said [crosstalk]

Nick: Comic Sans?

Leah: -the archery thing. I know Comic Sans, but I mean, if we [inaudible] your basic ... I have no idea. I'm happy to say to people, "Oh, I don't know what that is. Tell me all about it!"

Nick: Tell me about it! Yes, people love talking about themselves, yes.

Leah: I used to feel like I had to know stuff. You don't have to know stuff!

Nick: You don't need to know anything.

Leah: Just tell people, "I'd love to hear about it. Let a girl know," and then you're in it!

Nick: Actually, people do make fun of me because some people think - and it is probably true - that I am only interested in learning things for the express purpose of whipping it out at a cocktail party. My knowledge is so shallow about most things, but it's so broad. I know just enough to be dangerous about a remarkably wide variety of topics that, at any cocktail party, with any person, I will have something that I can chime in with. "Oh, the 1998 amalgamation of Toronto? Let's talk about it!" I'll just whip out-

Leah: And I'll be like, "Toronto? I went there once!" [Laughing]

Nick: Great! CN Tower? Loved it! Hydro bills ... Much music. Electric Circus ...

Leah: Much music! Oh, my goodness.

Nick: [Giggling] I know just enough to have a rapport, and, at the end of the day, you just want to develop rapport. That's all we're doing. You do not necessarily have to feel like you need to divulge deep secrets or even deep opinions. We're keeping it light. This is the artifice. This is superficial. Don't go deep. No need!

Leah: I have trouble not going deep.

Nick: And I think, for small talk, I don't think you want to go deep.

Leah: No, I know. That's why I'm always just like, "Do-do-doo ..."

Nick: A do-do-doo is great, and I think, at the end of the day, if you are feeling like you just can't contribute, that's okay. I am happy to fill the dead air, but then, just pretend like you are enjoying yourself because I've got lots of good anecdotes, but I don't want to bore my audience. So, if I tell an anecdote, and I'm clearly boring you, I'm gonna wanna switch gears.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, I need a little feedback, even if you're just standing there.

Leah: I think our letter-writer said she had a fear of grilling people.

Nick: Yeah, don't worry about that.

Leah: Yeah, but I do think sometimes you can notice when people don't want to talk about certain subjects. Bounce-

Nick: Oh!

Leah: Bounce from that subject.

Nick: Yes, but I think, if you're keeping it light and superficial, you probably aren't going to get to that, most likely. If you're just talking about favorite foods, recent vacations, 'why are we at this sales conference?', you're probably not going to get too deep.

Leah: A lot of people will be like, "Oh, where's your family?" and ... Some people don't want to talk about that stuff, and that could be considered light conversation.

Nick: Okay, yeah, if you're Nomi Malone about it.

Leah: -read the room.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: And if people seem to not want to talk about anything personal about themselves-

Nick: Move on.

Leah: Bring it to did they see Love is Blind?

Nick: Then, our letter-writer also mentioned that she didn't want to talk about herself too much. I would almost guarantee that's not possible.

Leah: Yeah, I don't think that's what you're doing.

Nick: Yeah, and I think, as a very good exercise, it is worthwhile talking for one minute. Time yourself. Tell a story for one minute and see how long that feels in your core. It's going to feel a lot longer than you think it is.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: The chances that you will ever hit that at a cocktail party is so inconceivable. You're never going to need to worry about this. So, I think, try that experiment for yourself and just feel how long that is and then, don't worry about it.

Leah: Yeah, I'm sure this person is not talking about themselves.

Nick: Very, very sure that that's probably not happening.

Leah: I also think something you said earlier about listening to the person, you said, to find your key-

Nick: Yes.

Leah: I think some people get so anxious about doing small talk correctly that their listening gets shut down, and they jump in with things-

Nick: Yes.

Leah: -because they're anxious! But a thing that could make you less anxious is just to listen.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: Then, I think the responses become more natural.

Nick: Yes. I think staying in the moment is really nice.

Leah: Instead of thinking, "Oh, what should I be saying?" Just listen to what the person's telling you.

Nick: Yeah, and I think, at the end of the day, when I think back to all the cocktail parties I've been to, I could not actually really tell you about any conversation I had with anybody. It all just disappears. No one remembers these conversations, so don't worry about it. Really, don't worry about it. It is so ephemeral that it doesn't matter. Just enjoy the moment-

Leah: Put that smile on your face.

Nick: Put a smile on your face.

Leah: Because TED Talks tells us that what we do on the outside of our body goes back into our brains, and then our body thinks that we are happy and confident.

Nick: So, there you go!

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to take some questions from the wilderness.

Leah: I can't even howl at this point. It's just ... [Giggling]

Nick: This came from my friend, John, here in New York, who I know. He sent me a message, I think, probably through Facebook Messenger. This was sort of ... I didn't quite understand what this question was, as it was unfolding. The question was-

Leah: I thought it was a completely different question for the first half of the sentence, and then, the second half, I was like, "I've never been in this situation!"

Nick: So, you are basically at the gym, and somebody has some toilet paper stuck to them. What do you do?

Leah: This means not on their foot. The question is not on their foot.

Nick: So, yeah ... Turns out, we're not talking about on their foot. So, then, as my message exchange with John unfolds, it turns out that we're at the gym locker room. The person is naked, and the toilet paper is sticking out of their rear end.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: So, like, Oh! That's not how I saw this unfolding. So, the question is, do you tell them? Then, John, asks, "If it were on their shoe, I would definitely make them aware, but this feels a little more intimate."

Leah: It does seem intimate. The most I can ... Often, women will put toilet paper on the toilet seat-

Nick: Oh, like a seat-cover kind of thing?

Leah: Yeah, and then, it will get stuck in their pants-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: -and they didn't notice a part of it when they pulled up, and then, it's hanging out the back of their-

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So, I mean, that's ... That's not your foot.

Nick: No, no.

Leah: And there was toilet paper.

Nick: Yeah. So, that feels like a nice sort of similar situation.

Leah: I'll be like, "Oh, you have something ..." I always say, "Oh, you have something ..."

Nick: Yes, we don't call out the actual noun.

Leah: Yeah. I'm like, "Oh, there's something ..."

Nick: "There's an objet ..."

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: Yes.

Leah: I can't-

Nick: Well, what's different here is that we are in a gym, and we're naked.

Leah: We're naked.

Nick: I think the rules of the locker room is that you're never supposed to be looking at other people, officially.

Leah: I also don't want people talking to me when I'm naked.

Nick: Yes. We do not care for conversation-

Leah: I had this woman recently ... I'm changing, and I was halfway, and she just saw me, recognized- and then started a conversation. So, I am stuck.

Nick: You didn't feel like you could kind of finish dressing?

Leah: No, because I had to get ... I would have had to move around. It was a full- I wanted to be like, "Can you not talk to me while I'm nude?"

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess, a "Hey ..." I guess that's fine, right? I don't love that either. I would rather us just not have any talking.

Leah: I mean, I understand why people talk to each other when they're nude. It's just supposed to be our bodies, blah-blah-blah-blah, but also, you could just let me get dressed really quick.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I don't know if I'm going to comment on somebody when they're naked. I feel like I'm not-

Nick: Also, it's one thing to go to the gym, and we just had our racquet ball, and now we're showering, and we're getting dressed, and we're still friends; our lockers are next each other, and we're chatting about like brunch.

Leah: Yeah, that's different.

Nick: Different. This is a naked stranger with toilet paper on his butt ...

Leah: Yeah, when I was saying this lady came over and talked to me, this was almost a stranger.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: If it was one of my friends-

Nick: Slightly different.

Leah: Totally different. I'd be like, "Hey, can you pass me my shirt?"

Nick: So, do you say something or not?

Leah: I feel like I actually wouldn't.

Nick: I feel like-

Leah: Because they're gonna catch it.

Nick: You think? Right, they should.

Leah: They're going to have to put clothes on.

Nick: That should dislodge what's happening, right?

Leah: [Laughing] Yes.

Nick: Okay. Yeah ...

Leah: Because they're gonna be so embarrassed!

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess, once I realize I've had toilet paper on me, I guess I would be like, "Oh, I hope no one noticed," as I'm removing it.

Leah: Right, but if ... If I said something to you, you would 100-percent know that somebody noticed.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Then, you could just ... Otherwise, you could just live in a world pretending nobody noticed.

Nick: Yeah. I guess because they were naked. you would let it go because they will catch it. Whereas the person's already dressed, like in your woman/bathroom example.

Leah: Yeah, and it's hanging out the back. Let them know!

Nick: Let them know because they may not actually catch it.

Leah: "Oh, you have a thing ..."

Nick: Right. So, okay ... I guess that's what we would do there. Yeah. Let it go.

Leah: Should I be more comfortable with an almost stranger talking to me when I'm naked? I don't know.

Nick: Uh, no ...

Leah: I just don't see why-

Nick: In the United States, I think ... Because there are places where like-

Leah: Well, even when I went to school ... You know, I went to school in Quebec, and at my gym, we were all ... You had to actually leave your clothes in one part of the- you know what I mean?

Nick: Oh!

Leah: You were naked, and that was- but it's not the same here.

Nick: Yeah. I have been to gyms elsewhere in the world where the naked rules are different.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And you've just gotta go with it.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: But I think, in the United States, where we are focusing on this New York City-based question, I-

Leah: We also just don't talk to each other in New York City at all! [Laughing]

Nick: In general, yes. Except when it's elevators, and I happen to be in.

Leah: Oh ... I always think, "Nick would hate this elevator." People were on their cellphones.

Nick: Oh! Nightmare ... All right, so, John, I think you just let it go. Hopefully, this will never happen again!

Leah: I can't imagine! I've never come across this!

Nick: You know, it happens. So, we're here for you. Our next question is: "When you're on a cellphone and the call drops, who is supposed to call back?" What do you think?

Leah: I think it's whoever's phone was responsible for the drop.

Nick: Well, how do you know?

Leah: Well, I know because I look at my phone, and if I walked out of the service area, then it was me.

Nick: Well, but it's not always a service problem. It just says, "Call Failed."

Leah: I think it's just whoever calls back.

Nick: Yeah, I think it's whoever realizes the call has been dropped should just call back. Then there is that awkward thing, like you realize it's been dropped, and I realized, and now we're calling each other, and now, I'm ringing. Then, I see you coming in on call waiting ... What do you do?

Leah: Right. You click over.

Nick: I think you accept the incoming call, and you don't drop your call just in case they did the same thing.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Then, we reconnect. Yeah, I think that's good. Is there any other variation on this?

Leah: No, I guess it's like- if it's a formal call that you're slightly nervous about ...

Nick: Well, if it's a formal call, then you should re-initiate it.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Yeah, like if it's with a boss, or a client.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, our next question is: "I'm studying the environment for my bachelors. I'm learning that incorrect terminology is becoming commonplace in today's society, like using bug, and insect interchangeably. Scientifically, bugs are actually a subset of insects. Is there a way to politely let someone know that they're using improper terms?" No.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: No ...

Leah: I wrote under this one-

Nick: No.

Leah: -that-

Nick: And then underlined it?

Leah: Uh, no, no. I felt ... If you were talking to me-

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: -and I was like, "Bug!" and you said- you were like, "You know, it's so funny, I'm studying this, and bugs are this, and insects are this," I'm the kinda person that would, like, "Oh, that's so cool!"

Nick: Okay ...

Leah: But, if you bring it up in a way that's like, "Hey, you're using that wrong."

Nick: No.

Leah: No! But, I love learning new stuff like that.

Nick: Ooo-kay. That's an interesting angle on this.

Leah: Do you know what I mean?

Nick: I do, yeah. If it's a friendly [crosstalk]

Leah: It is interesting that bugs and insects aren't the same thing.

Nick: Yes. No, that's an interesting distinction. Yes. I actually looked it up. It's how many body parts they have [crosstalk]

Leah: Oh, it's very complicated-

Nick: -three parts; two parts; what kind of mouth they have; it's like a tube thing, or-

Leah: And it's do they have skeletons on the outside, which is like an ant.

Nick: Oh, okay, exoskeletons-

Leah: Ex- yeah ... I mean, it's a whole world!

Nick: All right. So, I guess-

Leah: Talk about a small talk! We could be off to the races!

Nick: [Giggling] So, I guess I will stand by my original no. However, *I guess if it's done in a way that feels like part of an interesting, friendly, non-judgmental conversation, then, okay.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Okay, yeah. If you think your audience is interested in this distinction-

Leah: Yeah, I think you've got to read the room on that one.

Nick: Yeah. Otherwise, you're just correcting them, and it's going to make them feel like they're inferior, or stupid.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Which we don't want to do.

Leah: But if you talk to me, I would love to know.

Nick: So, yes, they're different, Leah. They're different.

Leah: [Giggling]

Nick: These were good questions. If you have questions for us about insects, bugs ... Send them to us through our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or send us a voicemail, leave us a text message, slip into our DMs, and we'll beeeeee right back.

Leah: Bug you later.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.

Leah: [Singing] Vent or Repennnnnnnnnt!

Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette thing that's happened to us recently, or we can repent for some bad etiquette thing we've done. So, Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: I'm gonna repent.

Nick: All right!

Leah: And it is specific to the deep dive, today.

Nick: Oh! Okay! So, our deep dive, as you'll recall, from 10 minutes ago, was about small talk.

Leah: All right, so this is very embarrassing but I'm gonna admit to it.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So, I've been working really hard on being better at small talk and social situations, and just walking up to people, and being friendly ... So, I'm at this event, and I'm in this volunteer organization, and it has multiple arms. So, I'm not in the New York one, I'm in the California one.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I see this woman. I recognize her. I think, "This is it. You're gonna just go walk up to people, and you're gonna say hi, and it's gonna be fine, and you're gonna muddle through this conversation! The more you do this, the better you're gonna get at it ...

Nick: Uh-huh ... Okay.

Leah: Here we go, I'm a new woman!

Nick: Okay [crosstalk] psyche yourself up!

Leah: I put my smile on my face, and I walk over, and I say, "Hey! I think I recognize you from the New York ..."

Nick: Great intro! Love that.

Leah: "How are you finding it here?" She was very cordial, and smiley, and she's like, "No ..." and I realized that she was a famous actress, and I didn't know her in real life, and she was not a part of the New York-

Nick: Okay ...

Leah: -the New York arm. She was there as a speaker. This was my first attempt at being- just walking up, and smiling, and introducing myself, and trying a new thing, and I failed so miserably!

Nick: No, I don't think you did! No, this is not a fail.

Leah: Ha! I thought I knew somebody from another volunteer meeting, and I knew them from television!

Nick: Well, but this was still charming, and you made small talk, and you had a conversation-

Leah: It was embarrassing.

Nick: -it was polite, and light. Ohhh ... That doesn't mean it wasn't good small talk.

Leah: [Laughing] I mean, it was like, "I'm so sorry!" She's like, "It's okay ..." [crosstalk]

Nick: So, you realized it in the conversation.

Leah: She was polite. Well, she was kind of like, "No ..." and then-

Nick: "I'm a famous person."

Leah: She didn't say that. She was like, "Umm ..." and we got there. Then, she was like, "It happens. People make people from television into people."

Nick: Yeah, like, "Oh, did I go to high school with them?" Yeah.

Leah: Yeah ... It's just because it was like my first really ... You know-

Nick: So, are you now worried that every time you go up to someone at a cocktail party, they may actually be a famous celebrity?

Leah: [Laughing] Yes.

Nick: All right, well, it's the cross you bear.

Leah: [Laughing] I just thought it was so funny cause I was really trying to do small talk.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Then, I was like, "Okay, so for next time, I'm gonna make sure I know this person from where I think I know them from."

Nick: But the small talk that you presented had nothing to do with who the person was.

Leah: No, but it was my intro.

Nick: Well, but it's fine to have a wrong intro. It's all about being charming. So, if you were charming, and it was light, and it was fun, and everyone smiled, and everyone had a nice time, and nothing felt awkward, that's great!

Leah: Then, I was just like, "Oh, coffee bar! Gotta go!" [Laughing]

Nick: Okay. I think this was a very mild repent, and I think you only kind of half-completed the assignment today, Leah.

Leah: Okay. Well, I wanted the person who wrote in about the small talk to see some situations-

Nick: Okay. All right. Fine. So, for me, I would like to vent. So, I was on the phone this week with somebody, and they were mashing their face, I guess, up against the keypad, so throughout our entire phone call, it was dialing sounds throughout the entire phone call. Entire phone call. She heard it, and she was not concerned that this was happening on her end. So, for our audience, let me recreate this conversation, so you get a flavor of what I'm talking about. So, you be the woman-

Leah: Okay.

Nick: -and you know this is happening. You know you're causing it, but you don't care.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Hey, Leah!

Leah: Hey, Nick! How are you? [dial tone]

Nick: So, are we still on for dinner tomorrow? [dial tone]

Leah: Yep.

Nick: [dial tone] Do you ... [dial tone] Is that your phone, or my phone?

Leah: Ooh, it's my phone [dial tone] I'm just pushing my cheek up against the dial [dial tone] buttons.

Nick: Oh [dial tone] should I ... [dial tone] call you back another [crosstalk]

Leah: [dial tone] Oh, don't worry about it. [dial tone]

Nick: Um, okay. [dial tone] So, what time do you wanna eat [dial tone] Um ... [dial tone] Are you sure? [dial tone] Can I call you back? [dial tone]

Leah: Oh, don't worry about it. [dial tone]

Nick: Okay. [dial tone]

Leah: I can still totally [dial tone] hear you.

Nick: [dial tone] O- [dial tone] kay ... Um, so [dial tone] what time is good for tomorrow?

Leah: [dial tone] [inaudible] 7:00?

Nick: So, this went ... This whole conversation was probably a 10-minute conversation.

Leah: Oh, no!

Nick: 10 minutes of this. Can you imagine? So, I've never experienced this before. Also, I'm not even sure how this happens. I think on an iPhone it's very difficult to do because I think the sensor turns off. So, maybe they had an old-fashioned phone? But, if they did, then they were purposely pushing the dial pad? Was their cat pawing at it?!

Leah: What did she say when you were like, "Can I call you back?"

Nick: No, she was like, "Oh, I don't know why my phone's doing that. Oh, no, it's fine. It's ..." She even said, "Oh, I can hear you fine." [Laughing]

Leah: Oh, no ...

Nick: So, um, that's my vent.

Leah: Ugh!

Nick: Yeah, that's a good one, I think. I've never experienced this. Yeah.

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: So, I don't know what the lesson is for anybody else, but if you have dialing sounds happening for 10 minutes-

Leah: Just let somebody call you back [crosstalk]

Nick: Let's text. Let's text. Yeah, email.

Leah: Yeah, "Something's wrong with my phone. Text me," so you don't lose your mind!

Nick: [Giggling]

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned that, according to Emily Post, there is no good nut.

Nick: [Laughing] That is NOT what Emily said!

Leah: That felt like what Emily said.

Nick: Emily just said, that at a formal luncheon or dinner, there are no nuts!

Leah: I felt like Emily was saying, "If you wanna eat nuts, you animal, you should just stay at home in the dark and eat them alone!"

Nick: I mean, that was her subtext.

Leah: That's what it felt like.

Nick: I learned that you're not very good at small talk, which I did not know. So, I think that was news to me.

Leah: I may be terrific at it.

Nick: I think you are.

Leah: I'm wildly uncomfortable!

Nick: Okay, well, we're going to all get better at this.

Leah: I'm gonna be positive and hope that it doesn't come off as badly as it feels on the inside.

Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick.

Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.

Leah: He would!

Nick: I would. What I want you to do is I want you to learn about our new Patreon-

Leah: [Gasping]

Nick: -which, you can support our show, which is a really nice, new thing you can do, if you like us, and you want to make sure our show continues.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: You can support us with cold, hard cash.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: So, visit our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com, click Membership, and you can learn about it. If you feel so inclined, we would be delighted to have you-

Leah: Delighted!

Nick: So, see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

[Instrumental Theme Song]

Nick: All right, Leah, it's time for Cordials of Kindness.

Leah: [Singing] I love these cordials!

Nick: This is Leah's opportunity to make us say nice things, and I only give her 30 seconds. Ready, set, go!

Leah: This is really wonderful. Her name is actually Sharon. She came up to me after a show this weekend and was so kind about just being excited and hugged me, even though you're not supposed to hug people. She hugged me, and it was a really wonderful hug. Then, she immediately followed me online and said nice things.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: I don't know if people know how often people just come up and just say wildly-

Nick: Inappropriate, or mean things?

Leah: -weird things; that when somebody is just like a fan and then, they say it, it just feels so nice, and [Buzzer Sound] Thank you so much, Sharon. You made my day!

Nick: Aww. So, for me, I want to thank our first Patreon members, which we just mentioned, because it is so gratifying that not only have we made this little show that people actually just like listening to, but that people liked it enough to actually want to support it with a monthly, like, "Here's a little monthly donation ..." which helps buy coffee for me. Late at night, Sunday nights, I'm up editing this thing! Haven't missed a deadline on Monday yet!

Leah: I think it's not just coffee.

Nick: Oh, it's ... There's other expenses.

Leah: There's actual legitimate-

Nick: There may be some other expense involved-

Leah: There's websites, and-

Nick: There's a website; there's hosting fees; yeah, there's ... There's other things. But, I really do appreciate that people like us enough that they actually want to, you know, support us. So, that actually feels very nice, and I really do appreciate it. So, thank you.

Leah: Thank you.

[Buzzer Sound]