Is it true, nothing or kind?
This has been bugging me, as I am consciously excitable and enthusiastic about whatever it is I am doing so will voice my thoughts in search of the truth, hoping that what I';m saying isn't vacuous and as it is academic then there should be no question of whether it is 'kind' or not.
You pass a stranger walking the dog. You mention the weather, or football and you are immediately guilty of opening your mouth for no worthwhile purpose. Better to say, 'What a lovely dog you've got!' which is kind, more than nothing ... though whether it is true or not is open to debate (or undebateable).
You might say more than 'lovely weather we're having' and say 'that high has established itself and looks like giving us a long spell of settled sunshine' TRUE ... but you may be talking to a BBC weather presenter.
Say nothing at all?
Just smile kindly and let the person you pass on the path fill in the detail.
Pernickety about many things my late father considered all small talk a waste of breath; how are you, the weather, football ... though you could stop him in his self-indulgent thoughts by mentioning a kite you'd spotted. Each to their own.
'Lovely weather we're having' someone says to which you reply, 'and amazing cloud formations, have you noticed ... look, what does that one'.
Where does flirting fit into the pattern?
You whisper sweet nothings into her ear as you grin, cuddle closer and reciprocally place hands in places that hint of something more.
Is it kind?
That depend. If it is first date can you tell yet whether it will lead to fifty years of marriage, three kids, six grandkids and a mortgage?
Is it true?
'I love you' ?
Where's the truth in that? Your truth may be their ability to indulge you.