The text books would tell you there's no place for meaningless dialogue between characters, but what do those who matter (the readers) really think? Is it okay in short doses ( maybe even welcome ) if it's there to get across character and personality, even if the dialogue does nothing to drive the plot? Or are you of the ilk who believes there's neither room nor need for it? I ask because dialogue is where I feel most comfortable when writing, and also find it hard to imagine that the setting and theme of my story would unfold without some degree of 'downtime' during which my characters indulge in small talk. I know of at least one writer who used to do this - the late Iain Banks - but is it a risk worth taking?