First dates, meeting the parents, hanging out with new friends or those weird times when you happen to run into your boss in the supermarket – awkward moments of silence are bound to happen at some point. I usually “solve” them by saying a lot of stupid things nobody even asked me anything about and I always feel embarrassed about it later. And although blabbing did win me a second date with my now fiancé, it isn’t always a guarantee of success. In fact, the harder you try to jumpstart a conversation, the more potentially embarrassing things you’re about to blurt out! So, if you, like me, have a hard time controlling the amount of info that’s being unleashed through your mouth, here’s some things you can say or do to break the embarrassing silence without actually embarrassing yourself in the process.
1. Acknowledging the Weird Situation
Okay, so you’re just sitting there staring at each other, your brain froze and you can’t think of anything interesting and yet on the topic you were discussing just a couple of moments ago. Well, don’t even bother. Just make a funny remark about the situation and try to tell a joke or completely change subject. I absolutely love when people do this because they make things easier for me, plus, I don’t have to act like everything is cool because it actually is. Simply admitting the moment was weird kind of “un-weirds” it. Umm, “un-weirds”… is there something like that in the dictionary or I’ve just made up a new word?
2. Compliment a Person
Be careful, thought, because if you wait until the situation gets really weird, your compliment won’t seem sincere. So, when you notice the silent moment coming, use it to express your liking of his/her shirt, shoes, bag… You can definitely take it from there by saying you wanted to get something very similar for your bro/ seen a celebrity wearing something like that etc.
3. Weather Stuff
Use this lame silence breaker in your advantage by combining it with my first suggestion. We all know people use weather whenever they feel like the conversation has reached the point when nobody knows what to say next, right? Well, why not say “Great weather today, huh?” even if it’s obviously raining or snowing? In fact, the worst the weather conditions are the better chances you have in making your conversation buddy laugh.
When all heads turn in your direction and you feel like you must say something, try passing the “hot potato” onto somebody else by asking a question. This works great and you don’t have to feel guilty because you did jumpstart a conversation! You can combine questions and compliments (Tell me, please, where did you find those great shoes?) or be straightforward and ask other questions. Try avoiding politics, religion and intimate questions though, because these can bring the awkwardness factor up a notch!
5. Say Something Weird
If minus and minus make a plus, then weird and weird should make it all good. If you’re sitting in a crowded coffee shop with your new date, try pointing out to the most hideous outfit or a hairstyle you can find and say “This would look great on you!” Your date will probably have a shocked look on her face and after that you can just start laughing and say you were just trying to check if his/her face looks equally cute when shocked as it does with a smile on.
6. Did I Say Something Wrong?
If you feel there’s more to it than just a simple lack of fresh ideas to talk about, don’t be afraid to ask what’s causing the problem. Your desire to prevent those strange moments of silence may have caused a bigger problem, read: you may have said something that made the other person feel embarrassed. Don’t pretend like nothing happened but see what you can do to make things right – that will prove others that, even if you have managed to insult somebody, you definitely didn’t do it on purpose.
“Wow! Look at the size of that fish/ color of that car” If you are both looking at something, it’s completely fine to shut up and those few seconds of normal silence are all the time you need to come up with something you’ll say next. These diversions can be a pretty good conversation starters too because, if you have just invited your date to check out the weird hairstyle of the lady that’s just walked in, you can always speak about hairstyles in general and even mention your weird cousins and their hairdos.
Yup, there are plenty of ways to avoid looking away, pounding your fingers on the table or blurting out. If you want to, of course, because there are plenty of people that simply enjoy silent moments and all that awkwardness. So, what do you do to fill up the gaps in the conversation?
Top Photo Credit: bensonkua