Naga Munchetty clashes with expert on BBC 'scaremongering'
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Naga Munchetty, 45, knows what she wants and it’s not small talk with strangers. The BBC Breakfast star admitted she has no interest in starting up a conversation with someone she’s never going to see again, and was labelled a “grumpy guts” by a listener for her honesty.
What I don’t enjoy is talking to some people who I know I’m not going to see again!
It comes after she and a guest were discussing how small talk can be awkward for some people to handle.
Her interviewee suggested she, as a cat owner, misses out on social interactions that dog walkers get, as they stop and have random conversations while out walking.
“I think you’re making an assumption that I’m interested in strangers,” she retorted.
Naga, who is set to appear on tonight’s Catchphrase, insisted she has “no real interest” in furthering a conversation with a person she won’t see again in her life, revealing saying ‘good morning’ or a brief ‘hello’ would be as far as she lets the chit chat go.
Her brutal honesty triggered a response from listeners, one of whom branded her “grumpy”.
Following agreeing with a message from one listener about ending phone call after one minute, Naga moved onto another but was a left chuckling by the contents.
“I wish this person had put their name to this because I actually agree with them,” she giggled.
“‘Gosh, you sound like a real grumpy guts,'” the BBC presenter read aloud the text.
“‘Absolutely everyone has an interesting story, you’ve just got to ask the right questions.'”
After finishing the message, Naga realised her point may have come across the wrong way and been misconstrued.
“I don’t think I’m explaining myself properly here,” she sighed.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love hearing about interesting people and facilitating the conversation so these brilliant stories come out.
“But what I don’t enjoy is talking to some people who I know I’m not going to see again!”
She revealed she never wants to tell people who fall into that category too much about herself, because she doesn’t consider herself an interesting person.
“I just feel it’s all an effort, all that small talk, and I don’t think I’m alone,” she acknowledged.
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Later on in the program, Naga asked her colleague Nihal Arthanayake how he manages to get past the anxiety she experiences when in a room full of strangers.
“To overcome the idea that you don’t belong in the room,” he explained his tactics of getting past the initial awkwardness.
“It’s imposter syndrome that’s feeding that feeling you don’t want to walk up to someone and make small talk, but actually you can walk up to someone and say ‘Hi’.”
He added: “You and I are in the business where we are interested in people otherwise we wouldn’t be very good our jobs, would we!”
Expecting an instant agreement to his statement, Naga’s reply left him a little stumped as she began to explain her side of things once again.
Admitting she’s not always taken in by people, she said: “An interest in subjects, not necessarily interested in meeting complete strangers… when I’m out and about.”
Nihal was a little confused as he asked: “Oh so let me get this straight, you’re only interested in people when you’re being paid to be interested in them…
“Is this the summary of what I’m hearing here?”
Naga shrugged, continuing: “And I’m interested in the people I love. Nice try trying to make me out to be even more awful that you know me to be!”
Catchphrase airs tonight at 6pm one ITV.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am one BBC One and Naga’s Radio 5 Live slot begins at 10am.
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