Even the most innocuous conversations have awkward moments. When chatting up your neighbor, talking with your best friend or even calling up your local deli, everything may seem normal. But don’t be fooled. Also, don’t order the pastrami (thank me later).
There are a ton of weird things that go on during typical conversation. Let’s overanalyze.
1. The Conversation Ender
So you’re talking shop with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. A little of this, a little of that, maybe a couple hand gestures to show you care. You’re enjoying the conversation, but then you get to the point where there’s nothing else to discuss. (A brutal place to be).
Your mind instantly races. “Did I ask them about their new job? Apartment situation? If they kicked that nasty Roller Coaster Tycoon habit?”
The flow of the convo is done and you both fucking know it. What you gotta do now is make the perfect transition from mid-conversation to wind-down conversation. I don’t really know how this is done, so I usually just end up extending the convo by asking weird questions. But the best make it look simple.
2. The Listening Indicator
There are various ways to indicate that you are listening to your conversation partner. You could throw ‘em a silent head nod, repeat what they’re saying, or use words like ‘yeah,’ ‘right,’ and utter the phrase ‘that makes sense.’
But what happens when you use up all your tricks and the person is still blabbering about how her Wendy’s delivery didn’t include dipping sauce?
You need to think of an alternative method to display your attention.
a. Perfectly timed shoulder shrug
b. Crinkle your forehead intensely: Only works if you’re listening to a regurgitation of a murder mystery.
c. Leave discretely, grab a sandwich, play a nine-hole mini golf course, come back and hope they didn’t notice.
^one of the above is a terrible idea.
3. Brief Pauses
The brief pause presents a plethora of options. You could continue discussing the current topic of conversation, attempt a transition to a different topic, try an exit strategy, wait for them to go for the exit strategy but run the risk of silence as you both wait for each other to speak, it’s just a lot to consider.
Basically any time there’s a break in conversation, I freeze up. Just gotta hope we’re both on the same page in terms of where the convo goes.
4. When You Totally Disagree With Someone
Painfully awkward. It could go one of two ways. Either you tell the person that you disagree with their assessment of the economy and get into an argument. Or you pretend to agree and feel like a liar for the rest of your life.
Or a third way (haha, you totally thought there was only gonna be two), agree with them and then air out your true global warming thoughts on Facebook.
5. No Eye-Contact Handshakes
Okay, this is more of a pre-conversation thing but I’m including it because this is my article. I just hate when I go for a handshake, throw some polite eye contact, and get nothing in return.
Automatically don’t like someone if they do this. Even if we’re shaking hands on some big contract that will finally enable me to rent snorkeling equipment.
6. Unequal Caring
Hey listen I don’t actually care what you’re saying, but at least I’m pretending to care. Our disingenuous levels need to be equal if we’re going to continue this unhelpful f
riendship therapy sesh.
Would be nice for you to extend me the courtesy of pretending to care. That’s all I ask.