Dialogue is one of the techniques/skills that writers must learn in order to develop effective character communication. Dialogue not only displays a character’s “voice,” it also serves to SHOW relationship dynamics AND to advance the plot.
It’s easy to get stuck in the mire of conversation, meaning, the niceties and back and forth’s that don’t really go anywhere. Case in point (as borrowed from The Oatmeal comic, Ten Reasons to Avoid Talking on the Phone):
(Thanks, Cate for pointing this out! LOVE IT!)
Ok, so the example above pretty much sums up what a space waster the “Hi, how are ya?” “Fine, how are you?” exchanges are. If you see them in your dialogue, CUT ‘EM OUT! The reader doesn’t care about idle weather talk, they wanna get to the chainsaws!
Speaking of chainsaws, context and body language also makes a big difference (hence the importance of showing).