Scenario: You do not have the slightest affinity to classical music, but you’re faced with two people who love classical music.
The president of a classical music fan club: I just bought a CD of a wonderful pianist! His name is Ivo Pogorelich.
Former classical pianist: Oh, excellent! I’ll have to borrow it sometime.
You: I played the violin as a child. I took lessons when I was in the fourth grade.
Do you see what the objective is here? You never want others to think you don’t have a connection to something they truly do. Once they think that about you, they will exclude you from any future conversations about all topics.
* * *
Scenario: You and a coworker are making small talk to get to know one another. At the same time, you are enjoying your daily morning Frappuccino while she is enjoying her daily morning Pike Place – black.
Coworker: Ah, this coffee isn’t working fast enough. I’m so sleepy right now! But I think it’s awesome that you drink Frappuccinos in the morning; they’re so good, but I’m way too dependent on black coffee.
You: I know, I drink so much coffee. Whenever I go to IHOP with my boyfriend and his friends, I’m the only one who gets coffee.
The scene’s not over yet. Starting with the next day, you’ll need to drink a Pike Place – black, just like your coworker, instead of your beloved Frappuccino, every morning. You’ve got to show your coworker that, you, too are stereotypically addicted to coffee so she will want to continue having small talk about coffee with you (i.e., she will not be able to outcast you).