Social Question

Mrgelastic's avatar

How do you get through awkward conversations?

Asked by Mrgelastic (508 points ) January 6th, 2010

I am a very social person, and i have become quite the conversationalist, although the challenging feat of small talk always induces awkward silences or short moments where there is genuinely nothing to talk about.

My method of relieving this is to make some sort of connection with my surroundings to keep the fire going. what do you do?

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22 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t – I hate pretense and small talk – I enjoy the pauses and how uncomfortable it makes others.

Holden_Caulfield's avatar

Quickly find a commonality, change the subject, and lead!!

serendipity's avatar

If it’s obviously awkward I’ll make a joke to diffuse the situation—something about “Wow, it’s a good thing that neither of us are stuck for conversation or anything”—something to lightly poke fun of the situation. That helps relieve the stress of things :)

Mamradpivo's avatar

Call attention to it and change the topic smoothly. Sooooo.. I was just reading about these new planets NASA discovered. Who knew?

And then, if they’re interested, you have something new to talk about. If not, drop them.

sjmc1989's avatar

I smile a lot- and hope that they appreciate my smile so much they don’t mind the awkwardness. :D

Jharty89's avatar

@sjmc1989 haha I do the same

wonderingwhy's avatar

if it’s been an enjoyable conversation I’ll usually just pick a random topic that I think might be interesting or vaguely related (I find I rarely run out of topics if I’m engaged) and see where it leads otherwise I just excuse myself with whatever seems plausible (drink [including shooting whatever i’ve got if necessary], bathroom, need to say hi, left the car lights on [and it goes down hill from there], etc). although I shamefully admit there have been times I’ve been tempted to just jump over the back of the couch when their back is turned and hide there until I can quietly slink away.

Spinel's avatar

I smile and change the subject to something safe (e.g. likes of the person, the latest movies and novels or the old standby, weather). Or I smile and find an excuse end the conversation. Sometimes I “charge” and go the heart of the awkward moment.

Silhouette's avatar

Nothing, I don’t find silence uncomfortable. I have found if you aren’t uncomfortable, the person you’re with will relax too.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I make strange faces at their expense when they aren’t looking.

Adagio's avatar

Perhaps in those moments you might consider the possibility the conversation has simply reached a natural conclusion? All conversation, no matter how stimulating, has a natural conclusion. The ability to relax into a comfortable silence between people is worth its weight in gold, I reckon.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I just smile. Someone will break the silence soon enough, depend upon it.

evandad's avatar

I don’t care about keeping any conversation going.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I don’t worry about gaps in the conversation. If the person with whom I’m talking can’t carry their end of the conversation or has nothing much to say. That is valuable information.

If I were interested in knowing that person, I might acknowledge the awkward gap and ask them what they make of it? The answer, if any, may give you wonderful insight into that person, or not.

nisse's avatar

I learned this trick recently, just say:

“Ummmmmmmmmmm, yup..” Say it very akwardly, like you REALLY don’t have anything to say. It actually gets people laughing and I find putting the finger on the akwardness tends to loosen the tension a bit. Only works in groups though.

sjmc1989's avatar

@nisse I do that too, but I always say “righhhhhttttttt…” like Dr. Evil.

plethora's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Great insight. I have been dealing with a person whom I know is very interested in me and I am potentially very interested in her. I say potentially because conversation, especially on the phone, but in person also, rarely gets below the level of the daily routine. There is no exchange of thoughts and perspectives in an atmosphere of mutual trust (to quote you on another question on this subject). Thanks for reminding me that this in itself is valuable information.

robinmichelle's avatar

The comments above are really great! Here are some other things to remember:

-If you feel the other person needs to leave, or you feel like the conversation has ended and you have nothing else to say, end the conversation. Sometimes, this can be just as awkward as the awkward silences between topics, however, at this point it is important to end the conversation since you don’t want to annoy the other person. An appropriate ending line would be, “it was great meeting you ______.” When you say this, say this as genuinely as possible, and give them good eye contact.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If you have to keep a conversation going you can ask them something about themselves, people are usually not short on things to say about themselves or their kids. You could just go to the bathroom etc if you don’t have to keep the conversation up, or you could ask them about something they are wearing and go off on fashion which you can spin off in many doerections if you think about it hard enough.

takeachance's avatar

Stand there and do the awkward turtle :P always gets every body thinking and laughing . :)
Google it if you dont know what it is.

dabbler's avatar

I’m not really very good in these situations, but if I can figure out there’s a lull before I get nervous about it I’ll ask a question.

@Mamradpivo friends and I were just today discussing the magical powers of the word “So…..” in conversation.

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