I know from my students that some don't get the small talk the English style
Often true I think.
they almost looked bored when I was trying to explain to them why discussing commuting could be interesting
I think I know what you mean. "Get to the point" "Why the unnecessary detail?" etc etc maybe?
I have found that sometimes when I answer Poles in a slightly tangential but relevant manner they can get very impatient. However, if I answer bluntly, then inevitably the next questions/points addressed will raise what I had been anticipating may have arisen in the first place!
They don't get this type of indirect,as they see it, small talk because they don't see the point of it. But in the example I mention there most definitely is a point.
I don't know if that makes sense.
But sorry, the thread was really intended for Poles to enlighten the rest of us about Polish Psyche and things that foreigners just don't get or misinterpret etc.