Social Question

Arp's avatar

What do you do during an awkward silence?

Asked by Arp (3516points) February 15th, 2010

I always leave myself wondering this, so what do you do?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

47 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

I like to rock back and forth from my heels to my toes and say “weeeelp, time for me to hit the ole dusty trail”

Steve_A's avatar

I think about stuff….

borderline_blonde's avatar

I just roll with it… and hope to god something intervenes soon.

phoebusg's avatar

There is no awkward silence if you’re used to meditation. Fixed.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Fart loudly and with feeling.LOL!

drhat77's avatar

I make awkward silences. Usually by walking into a conversation. Funny. It must be a super power.

Jeruba's avatar

Depends on the situation. It usually doesn’t hurt to wait a little and see what happens next. What may seem awkward to one might just be a comfortable lull to another. Rushing to fill a gap may exhibit more anxiety and lack of confidence than you necessarily want to display and sometimes prompts you to say things better left unsaid. (Fictional detectives make good use of this phenomenon.)

If you have props—a drink, a cigarette, a notebook or magazine—that’s often a good time to fall back on them so you appear to be doing something. (Better not look at your watch.)

ChaosCross's avatar

I say very audibly.


Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You need to say something witty and quick.
Nothing you will say can make an awkward moment not awkward, but you can minimize the awkwardness.
Move past that awkward moment as fast as you can.

lilikoi's avatar

Absolutely nothing :D

chyna's avatar

I start playing with my hair. I don’t chew on it or anything like that, just play with it. :)

gailcalled's avatar

Learning to handle the silence gives you a powerful tool. Attending Quaker Meeting for Worship (which is mainly silence) was a wonderful experience. Imagine 400 teen-agers sitting quietly on hard benches for 45 minutes.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Check for a pulse.
Wind my watch (except it’s battery powered, and in my pocket).
Check for new activity on Fluther.

I was waiting for someone else to answer.

Adagio's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille you took the words right out of my mouth :) didn’t I hear that somewhere before? Meatloaf?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Adagio giggles—I had to edit!

toomuchcoffee911's avatar


Or I cough.

eLenaLicious's avatar

I say….
weeird ANYWAYYYS….next topic…”

Jeruba's avatar

@gailcalled, sitting for Zen practice can have the same effect. One night a religion class from a nearby university came to observe us meditating. I don’t think they realized that they were going to have to sit still for 40 minutes and just watch us sit still. I was never so aware of my own stillness in zazen as I was that night hearing them shift restlessly on their folding chairs and sigh loudly while we sat silently on our cushions with our eyes cast down and didn’t move a muscle.

davidbetterman's avatar

Remain silent. It is not awkward at all.

efritz's avatar

Start weeping/vomiting/screaming . . . I’m socially unacceptable :)

tinyfaery's avatar

If I’m not in any type work situation, I just say the word “awkward” in a funny way. People tend to laugh.

susanc's avatar

I have a friend, Joe, an Indian (he himself doesn’t say “Native American”; he says
“Indian”, pronounced “Inden”). We like have coffee and Pepperidge Farm cookies and visit. “Visiting” meaning “me sitting there brightly thinking up topics and waiting for Joe to fulfill his part of the conversation.”
One day I just plain ran out of topics. Long, long silence. Then I said, “I sure talk a lot.” Joe didn’t say anything, but he smiled for a long, long time. Since .. then…. I can… Just.
Enjoy .. the. .. Cookies.
If I’m with Joe.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Be the silence.
Practice ninja skills.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: I was able to fidget a bit during Meeting for Worship; if I were obligated to sit on a cushion without moving for 40 minutes, I ‘d need a derrick to haul me into a standing position and then a chiropracter for afters.

You must be very limber. Silence is wonderful; immobility is not.

Jeruba's avatar

I can’t do it any more, @gailcalled. It’s the old knees. I can get down there ok, but getting up is a b**ch. Hence yoga classes.

windex's avatar

I try to say something funny…(depending on the situation, and try to break the ice)

One time at a life drawing class where everyone was just waiting for the model to come in and no one was saying anything.
So I said out loud…“SO, HOW ABOUT THEM GAS PRICES” (this was when the gas prices were really high a few years back.)

I think like ½ a person went pahhh…, I don’t know why, but more and more I feel like I’m being surrounded by sheep. Just yesterday I was at IN’N OUT (fast food place on the west coat) and some guy dropped his napkin and receipt but didn’t notice it.
Everyone around him just acted like they didn’t see anything. People ignoring trash on the ground, and just acting like nothing is their responsibility really makes me sad and loose hope. No one cares anymore. Sorry for getting so off topic. so..yea….

I picked it up and threw it in the trash like I always do, at the risk of being viewed as an odd person…I should also disclose the fact that I was sporting my handlebars…>:)
@CyanoticWasp: LAF!!! practice ninja skills

Cruiser's avatar

Smile real REAL big….and when everyone else notices your smile whip out the Kazoo for a good ol’ rendition of Yankee Doodle Dandy!

gailcalled's avatar

A very interesting experiment is to live with the silence. See what happens.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I love silences. Do the “cowboys at the campfire” thing: “Shore is quiet… too quiet.” Look around with shifty eyes like watching for the ambush.

At the modeling thing, @windex, I think I’d have said something like, “It’s a lot less embarrassing when I just draw the centerfold from Playboy in my own room.”

But I don’t worry a lot about embarrassment, either. Be the embarrassment. (Yeah, another of my mottoes.)

Bluefreedom's avatar

I fidget during the quiet time.

Fred931's avatar

Whip out my ipod and blare out the crazy frog song, always provokes a laugh.

Zajvhal's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Awesome…Ninja skills…LOL..and “be the embarassment” ....Be the embarassed Ninja…. ;p

I usually just laugh or smile or say something like…“Allrighty then….” But honestly….I don’t usually encounter too many awkward silences…I think I talk a lot…lol

plethora's avatar

@davidbetterman Exactly…...or in some cases I start asking questions. Trouble with these awkward silence types, they give one word answers.

MrsDufresne's avatar

Blink, and smile like a cat that ate the canary.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Easy, talk about sports or politics…......

Merriment's avatar

I sit very still and wait and watch to see who will be the first one to break weak and ramble to fill the void….

stemnyjones's avatar

I usually pull out my cellphone and, depending on how long the silence is, either just glance at the time (if it’s just for a second or two) or actually text someone for the hell of it (if it’s a long awkward silence).

dr34m3r's avatar

analyse other reactions to the silence

partyparty's avatar

Try to think of something amusing to say.

Cupcake's avatar

I usually had something to do with the awkward silence. I like to let people sit in it and feel uncomfortable.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

I never text people during awkward silences. It just furthers the awkwardness.

gailcalled's avatar

What about clog dancing or baton twirling? Keep the equipment in your backpack for awkward moments.

Fred931's avatar

@mylastpost: My siblings have been in my freaking account again.

flutherother's avatar

I consider things to say, reject them, feel embarrassed and extend the silence interminably. Then I may say something I immediately regret upon which follows a truly ghastly pause.

sarahjane90's avatar

Depending on the situations…. some times I say something completely off topic or outrageous to lighten up the mood. It usually catches people by surprise, and sometimes receives a laugh.. which is the desired effect!

likipie's avatar

Start singing: When I walk in the spot, this is what I see. Er’body stops and is starin’ at me. I got action in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it, show it, show it. I’m sexy and I know it. :D

snapdragon24's avatar

Hmmm I laugh during awkward silences…or I say ‘wow, tough crowd.’

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