how we came to skip the small talk

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it all started when...

Ashley Kirsner, a former student of psychology, found her work regarding the ways that people connect or fail to connect with each other to be the most fascinating. She craved a way to use her diverse training to facilitate deeper interactions in everyday life. She found that her friend, Devin Karbowicz, had a similar desire, and together they founded communiT Boston. Taking its name from the nickname for the local public transportation system, communiT was a series of free monthly events held at T stations, designed to provide fun and unique ways for strangers to interact with each other. 


Ashley wondered what would happen if these brief interactions with strangers were extended into longer events. She hoped they could serve as a way to improve attendees’ everyday lives and foster longer-term connections. The first such event was the “Skip the Small Talk Dinner,” a picnic centered around using cards with thought-provoking questions to help the attendees interact. Ashley expected 15 people to show up, but before she knew it over five hundred people had expressed interest in the Facebook event. The event was such a hit that some participants stayed three hours after the picnic was scheduled to end.

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Since then, we've held dozens of
Skip the Small Talks.

Ashley Kirsner, Founder of Skip the Small Talk

Ashley Kirsner, Founder of Skip the Small Talk


ashley kirsner specializes in people...

Ashley received her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University, where she graduated with honors and as president of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. She has conducted research with professors at Cornell University, Harvard University, the Harvard Decision Science Lab, the Harvard Business School, the University of Miami, the Psychotherapy and Emotion Research Lab at Boston University, and McLean Hospital on social and clinical psychology topics ranging from decision-making and implicit biases to facial expressions in borderline personality disorder patients. Ashley gained hands-on therapeutic experience as a suicide hotline phone responder, as a peer counselor at Cornell, and as a provider of CBT exposures for socially anxious patients at Boston University. 

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Easily one of the best social nights I’ve had in recent memory... Great way to...explore the dynamics of genuine conversations.
— Roy Stringer, Jr.