Especially with new coworkers I feel arrested for words as greetings and chitchat begin. Like I lack an entire chapter of some phrasebook that everyone else seems to have internalized. Monday mornings are really hard for me.
A recent example, meeting a friend at a bar:
Friend: "Hey, what's happenin'?"
Me: "Not much, just wanted to get out of the apartment."
Friend: "I see, stretchin' your legs."
Also me: Wow. "Stretchin' your legs!" Where did he get that from?
I only have the most banal, boring replies, more or less ending conversations (e.g. "I see.")
So okay, I know there's no substitute for having actual conversations. But I've tried forcing myself to go to meetup.com events for this purpose, and burned out after a few months. Having so many conversations at such shallow depth (since everyone's new, not judging who they are) is exhausting. And online dating?—poor, poor simulators of the "new coworker" scenario.
I don't actually think I'm that socially anxious. I like being around people, usually feel confident, and talk comfortably in front of groups that I host. So it really feels like I'm just missing phrases. How can I expand my conversational, "small-talk" vocabulary?
My only idea at this point is to binge on sitcoms on Netflix. I grew up without TV, so maybe I'm just missing television time?