I am slightly confused though. You don't hate small talk but you hate what people talk about in general so you avoid social functions?
If you wanna talk about whatever, then keep talking.
Someone says something about topic A, talk about topic A. Say your related experiences, comments, opinions, ask about their involvement, etc.
Coworker: "I'm thinking about Mexican for dinner tonight."
- What restaurant?
- Ever been to _____?
- My aunt makes great Mexican dishes.
- What's your favorite dish?
- I love authentic Mexican but still go nuts over Taco Bell.
At the very least, you can use this conversation to learn about your coworkers. What they are up to, what they like/dislike, their friends and families, their quirks, background, etc.
If you don't want stupid, boring, small-talk, spice it up yourself
- Bring up specific topics, especially something you know others will talk about
- It can be simple like TV shows or movies
- It can be complex and in-depth like philosophy, politics, or social issues
Remember that small talk is mundane talk. Don't expect anything great to come of most small talk because you'll probably get canned responses.
- Q: How was your weekend?
- A: Good
And that's the end of that.
Very rarely will it be anything meaningful, at least in my experience.
Oh it was wonderful. I my boyfriend took me to this resort. It was down south by Nowheresville. There were a bunch of little shops and I really wanted this painting I saw...
If this is what you want, I'd encourage you to start. No guarantee but people will be more willing to converse more if you do. Don't give canned responses.
If you want interesting conversation, control the dialogue
Do what engages you. Conversation isn't something you have to do at gunpoint under the demands of other people. Say what you want to say. Talk about your interests or activities. Avoid things you know won't elicit a response as the conversation will die rapidly.
Just remember, this is normal
Not every conversation will be fun. Sometimes, you just have to bear it until it's done. My coworkers do the same stuff just about every day. It's always, "What's for lunch?" "How was your evening?" "How's your weekend?" "How's your work going?" To which the answer is pretty much alway the same. One guy talks about his LARPing (Live-Action Roleplay) which frankly, I don't care about. I think there are a lot of interesting aspects to it but half the time, I don't wanna hear it or am busy. Nevertheless, I listen, interact, and respond. If I really can't bother with it, I'll become more focused on my work or dismissive or leave to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, people talk about their kids and how great they are. I don't care. I don't have kids right now and anyways, they're not my kids. One person talks about her personal drama every day and it's the same crap all the time. "Mmmhm. Mmmhm." I say. She finishes, we move on.
Don't worry about it really. If you wanna go to lunch with people, just go. If they talk, nod your head and agree. If you really have contempt for menial garbage people talk about, avoid that or change the topic. Sometimes though, you have to choose when you want to be social. Only go to lunch or parties half the time. This sort of conversation is honestly pretty typical for most people.