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What is Phatic Communication?

What is Phatic Communication?: “These cliched phrases and time-worn conversation starters are perfect examples of phatic communication.”

It’s the small talk and the little gestures which smooth interaction. Some societies make a ritual of it. It’s important to get the lightweight stuff in place. it creates security and bridges gaps. Once the small talk is in place then more serious issues can be addressed. I used to think small talk was silly and superfluous. Now I realise I was just too intense and needed to lighten up. I have also come to appreciate how these conversational and non verbal routines assist social ease, particular when you are on unfamiliar ground. When others use phatic communication, they put you at ease!



Retired Adelaide based professional. Lived here most of my life. I have been a teacher of French, English and German since 1974 and value the capacity of the classroom, wherever that might be, to write on the lives of others.

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