_William Godwin: A Biographical Study_ by George Woodcock, p 178, quoting Godwin writing self-analysis, not for publication:
I can scarcely ever begin a conversation where I have no preconceived subject to talk of; in these cases I have recourse to topics the most trite and barren, and my memory often refuses to furnish even these.
I consider smalltalk a way for people to get along pleasantly whether they are compatible or not. It's a way for people to talk without putting their own values and ideas into the conversation and thus risking disagreement. It's a waste of time; if you disagree, then learn from each other, and if you can't do that, then this is the wrong person for you to be talking with.