Monday, January 17, 2011
the Awkward Silence
the pounding heart, the sweaty palms, the brain freeze... the complete nervous system breakdown that can only inevitably accompany the dreaded... Awkward Silence.
everyone's been there before, right? come on, you'd HAVE to be lying if you said that you've never experienced this phenomenon. the worst thing about the Awkward Silence is that it goes, without fail, from just the Awkward Silence to the Awkward Silence Black Hole in about thirty seconds (if you're lucky). now, coming from a girl who has a LOT to say, i still have had my share of Awkward Silences. granted, i think i've gotten better over time (kind of like aged wine, if you will...) in terms of trying to overcome such Awkward Silences with random topics that i have generated over the years, but still. in my head, if i know it's an Awkward Silence, so do any and all involved parties.
but here's the deal. this is not my problem. i mean, WHAT? if all involved parties know that we're in the midst of an Awkward Silence, SAY SOMETHING. DO SOMETHING. don't just sit there... dwelling in the SILENCE! PRETENDING it's OKAY. i mean, HELLO. who are we KIDDING here. sigh. just a little frustration. hahaha.
but back to merriment and sunshine blah blah blah. hahahah. just kidding. back to merriment! back to sunshine! hooray! for merriment! for sunshine! okay, whatever, you get the idea.
anyway, i have decided to take it upon myself to grace the world with a list of general conversation starters to get yourself outta ANY Awkward Silence mix-up you may find yourself in. just doing my part to save the world, one poor awkward soul at a time. hahaha. im kidding, im kidding. it's not like the actual PEOPLE are awkward. just the situation.... okay, maybe it's also the people sometimes. but whatever. awkward people is simply another blog post for another time...
Christie's Friendly (Non-Judgmental, mind you!) Tips to Avoid the Awkward Silence Abyss
1. discuss what you guys do for a living - now be CAREFUL. you never want to offend the person if they turn out to be doing something that you find less reputable than usual. for instance, if the person says that they play video games and live with their parents... at the age of like forty... just make sure you smile and nod politely... and then GET THE F OUTTA THERE. hahahah. who are we KIDDING here, people. anyway. filter's back.
therefore, tread lightly at first, gauge people's comfort levels with this topic of discussion, and move forward with caution. i cannot emphasize the "moving forward with caution" bit enough. because LORD, if you dont, all i have to say is you just catapulted yourself wayyyy into the Awkward Silence Abyss.
2. discuss each other's histories - for instance, where you live now, where you grew up, where you've traveled. dude, trust me, i can GUARANTEE that this will get you at LEAST seven minutes of somewhat Non-Awkward conversation. i mean, who DOESN'T love hearing people's life stories? (well, if you don't, you can just stop reading this post right about now.) and man, you can ALWAYS spin off some sort of tangent with the places that people have been. you can always relate to said places (if you've been/lived there) or ask about their favorite spots in those places or ask about the weather (GOD, the weather. please PLEASE don't ever talk about the weather... unless you have reached the Awkward Silence Black Hole mode... in which case, you're pretty much screwed as it is and you should likely just be looking for ANY way out.)
3. if you happen to be from the same region, or know people from the same region... heck, why not start tossing some names around? this is also kind of a cautionary measure, because there are DEFINITELY some people who hate hate hate the name game... not to mention, what if you start tossing around some names of people who, like, teased said Awkward Silence partner about how fat he/she was in high school or made fun of Awkward Silence partner's four eyes in grade school... well, whatever you get the idea. but remember... it's all about developing SOME ability to tread lightly and read the situation before just diving right on in there (otherwise, who are we kidding. you're just a lost cause... oops- back to the non-judgmental phase of this blog post...)
4. discuss a current event that's SUPER popular and NOT political - again... i highly highly caution you with this one. because, hello, the whole political thing just goes without saying that things could ever-quickly spiral out of control within the course of a few seconds... well, unless you guys like MET at the democratic national convention or something... but whatever, you get the point im generally trying to get across. anyway, if the current event is pretty popular (ie: michael jackson's death, the oprah's last season, etc), then you will likely have some good conversation going for at least three minutes, because you can both partake, provide your points of views, etc. even if the Awkward Silence partner HASN'T heard about the current event, then whatever, don't FRET (hard to do in the Awkward Silence moment, i know). just start babbling on and on about it like it's the most earth-shattering thing ever, and your Awkward Silence partner is BOUND to get just as excited. (okay. maybe this works for me, because how can an Awkward Silence partner NOT get excited in the midst of the spirit fingered jubileeeeee that can only be a conversation with christieeeeeee... but i digress. you'll never know unless you give it a shot, right?)
5. books! this is one of MY favorite conversation topics, but it very well also may be that most of the people i interact with are fairly well-read (and not really people that i encounter the Awkward Silence with, but whatever). keep in mind again, though, this must be taken with a grain of salt... because i can assure you, there are plenty of people in this world who don't cherish the art of books (which is understandable and fine and totally not judgment-worthy... hahaha just kidding) so you may quickly reach a roadblock... in which case, defer up to the whole "start babbling about YOUR favorite book" phase if necessary. i mean, it's not like you have to go on for AGES... just long enough for you to think of another conversation topic while mindlessly babbling... well, whatever, if books are clearly not working in your favor then just switch to TV... one extreme to the next. and hey, while you start talking about tv, maybe you can start out by actively advertising the wonders and glories of the DVR. because, dude, i haven't come even CLOSE to finishing how wondrous and joyous the invention of the DVR is. and that is CERTAINLY one topic that will take MORE than a few minutes to dissect. and that, my friends, is a 100% christie guarantee.
anyway, so as per usual, this blog post has just gone on and on. i know, right? can you believe i actually DO experience the Awkward Silence from time to time still? i feel like it's one extreme to another with me... either i can talk and talk and talk and... well, talk... or i mute right on up. it just depends on the person, i guess. i mean, i GUESS. who really knows. multiple personalities and all that.
as long as the Maliyacular doesn't start reaching the Awkward Silence Black Hole state... oh GOD. just THINKING about that... i just got the pounding heart, the sweaty palms, the brain freeze... the complete nervous system breakdown...
sigh. and it all comes full circle, yet AGAIN, folks.