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  Many Americans find silence uncomfortable during a buffet or a formal dinner. So in the States there is a widespread practice of making "small talk" in certain social situations. Small talk deals with various topics superficially, simply for the sake of keeping a conversation going. The topics might include the weather, sports, college courses, clothing, food, etc. Small talk is especially useful at social gatherings when you meet someone for the first time, or when polite conversation is expected but no serious discussion is desired.
  It is common but not necessarily expected that one knows someone in a group before engaging with him or her in conversation. However, at a party or other informal social gathering, a simple "May I join you?" and a self-introduction is normally sufficient to gain acceptance into a group and to join in a conversation. In some places, such as the lobby of a concert hall or theater, a waiting room or a classroom, it is common for strangers to start a conversation even without an introduction.
  Despite the informality that pervades U.S. society, people in the States expect those whom they speak to put aside whatever they are doing and listen. As a rule, the conversation distance between two people is at least two or three feet. Standing at a closer range will make many Americans feel uneasy.

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    不论在自助餐还是正式宴会上,如果常常冷场,美国人会觉得别扭。所以在美国,在某些社交场合,“闲谈”是很流行的。闲谈内容五花八门、漫无边际,目的无非为了把谈话继续下去。话题可以包括天气、体育、学校课程、衣着、食物等等。在社交场所初次遇到别人,或者出于礼貌需要交谈而又不想作严肃的讨论时,闲谈是特别有用的。 (来源:英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
   一群人在交谈,通常你只要认识其中某一个人,即可参加进去。但也不一定非认得人不可。实际上,在舞会或其他非正式社交场合中,仅仅说一句“我可以参加吗?”并自我介绍一下,通常就足够取得认可,并参加这群人的谈话。在有些地方,如音乐厅或剧场的休息室、候车室或教室,陌生人常常甚至不必作介绍彼此就可以开始交谈了。
    虽然美国社会普遍不拘泥小节.但是美国人还是希望与他交谈的人,把他们正在做的任何事情都放开,专心来听他的话。照例,两人谈话至少距离两到三英尺。两人站着时距离倘若靠得太近,许多美国人会感到很不自在。

 
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