I Like To Talk About The Weather

Mar 13, 2024

A social media memory popped up a few days ago from this time last year. It was a picture of me standing next to an 8-foot-high snowbank in the corner of our driveway. The full moon at midnight lit up the white landscape and threw sharp shadows that made it look like the picture was taken at midday.

We showed this picture over and over again when we were in Morocco the following month. I loved the contrast between that 8 ft. high pile of snow and the 600 ft. high sand dunes of the Sahara. It beautifully demonstrated our sense of place, while visiting another place.

I live in Minnesota. The weather is dramatic. 30-degree temperature swings in a single day are common. Last winter there were 90 inches of snow in the area. This winter it’s been less than 8 inches and we’re on the verge of spring. It’s something to talk about. Every day I feel excited, surprised, overwhelmed or a tinge of dread in relation to the weather. It affects my moods and my plans.

Also, I love to talk about nature and be connected to her process.

I like to talk about it because I find it interesting. And yet conversation about the weather has a bad rap. It’s often thought of as a last-resort topic started by someone so uninteresting, they’ve got nothing else to talk about.

While I openly delight in talking about the weather, I feel like I have to justify the value of this topic. I also feel socially awkward because that socially constructed voice in my head is shaming me for being shallow and having nothing more interesting to say.

It gets worse. Surely, I can’t be highly sensitive if I like to talk about the weather! Small talk bores, HSPs, right? Then who am I? What is my place in the world? Do I have one? Is this one topic at the root of my social anxiety?

There's a notion out there that HSPs, with our rich inner lives and our penchant for depth, should naturally eschew such trivial matters. It's as if our sensitivity card gets revoked if we dare to find joy in the mundane. But who says depth can't be found in simplicity? Who decided that talking about the weather is any less meaningful than discussing the latest book or philosophical theory?

It's easy to see why highly sensitive people find social interactions so complex and exhausting after a time.

It’s so much easier to just be in the weather. To feel the drizzle on my cheeks, to hear the mud squishing between the treads of my boots and to see the way light and breeze play with everything.

Each person with the HSP trait falls on a spectrum of characteristics. My love for weather conversations is just one example of how no two HSPs are alike. I share this so we can be careful not to stereotype or pigeonhole ourselves or others.

But conversations about the weather, far from being mere small talk, hold the potential for connection, reflection, and even revelation, particularly for HSPs. By moving beyond stereotypes and embracing the richness of all forms of communication, we can foster a more inclusive and empathetic world. Let’s not underestimate the power of discussing the weather, for within these conversations lies the possibility of finding common ground, shared joy, and even unexpected depth. To me, these moments feel like shared humanity, a reminder that, at our core, we're all navigating the same unpredictable skies.

And there's more to it. Conversations about the weather act as a sort of social glue, a way to ease into the ebb and flow of human connection without diving headfirst into the deep end. For those of us who might find social situations a tad overwhelming, these seemingly mundane exchanges are a lifeline. They offer a gentle on-ramp to deeper, more meaningful interactions.

For me, these moments of connection, whether they're about the latest heatwave or the sudden spring blooms, are tiny anchors in the swirling sea of life. 

Highly sensitive person (HSP) is a personality trait that 20% of the world's population has. Do you? Take this quiz to find out.

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