Social Butterflies Share Their Quickest Ways To Stop Awkward Silences
Some say silence is golden. Any parent of a young child will tell you silence usually means something is terribly wrong and you're about to spend 45 minutes cleaning it or at least $125 fixing it. The terminally she among us will tell you silence is so. incredibly. awkward.
Much awkward. Very cringe. So you guys can imagine our faces when we stumbled across this magical gem of a reddit thread:
Yes, social butterflies! Teach us your fluttery ways! Turns out those social butterflies among us are just as weird as the rest of us, they're just more willing to share the weird aloud. Need proof? Check out the responses they came up with!
If You're Ever In Myanmar
Soooo... think we'll go metric?
(DISCLAIMER: this really only works in the US, Myanmar, and Liberia)
... And To Scorpions, Lobsters Are Mermaids...
I think it was an old shower though but "Do you ever wonder if crabs think fish are flying?"
"When does Ford Truck Month end"
It's Always Something
Have you heard about Pluto?
Great, Now We Want BBQ
"Are you familiar with Murphy's Law?"
"Yeah" or "No"
"It states that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Are you familiar with Cole's Law?"
"It's thinly chopped cabbage."
Thankfully Someone Actually Answered This One On Reddit
Do you think you could taxidermy a jellyfish?
Actually This Is Brilliant
"What's the worst movie (or book) you've seen/read?"
Everybody likes gushing about their favorites, but it's even MORE fun to bash something you really hate! Plus, their reasons for hating it are so diverse, as opposed to why someone loves something, which are more or less the same. Kinda like the first line in Anna Karenina: Happy families are all alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in their own way.
What's Up, Doc?
"Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he dressed up like a girl bunny?"
Awkward, Uh, Finds A Way
I'm a phlebotomist for a plasma donation center. I always ask how donors' weekends went. One day I asked a young girl and she said, "terrible". Out of habit I accidentally asked why, and she told me that she had caught her boyfriend of 5 years was cheating on her on their anniversary. I didn't know what to say so after what felt like a minute I asked, "so have you seen the new Jurassic Park"? Ever since then that had been my go to.
Edit: she had not seen it.
I usually run through popular AskReddit questions. My go-to is "If you had to give a TED talk in 5 minutes what topic would you pick and why?" Usually brings out a topic they are passionate about and easy to keep conversation going
Save The Tacos!
If you had [random around of money] and had to spend every single penny by tomorrow, what would you buy?
*The best part of this one was that someone responded with the evilest thing we can think of: *
I would buy all the taco shells at Taco Bell and then stand there listening to customers freak out about Taco Bell not having any taco shells
To The Winchester, Obviously
If zombies attacked right now what's our plan?
Oh, The Drama
In high school drama class a buddy forgot his line and replied awkwardly with, How about them Jays? Has been go to question ever since
If They're Not Indiana Jones Fans, This Is Just Going To Increase The Awkward
I start chanting "kali ma shakti de!" While I slowly make a gripping motion with my hand moving closer to their chest where their heart would be.
A Super Conversation Starter
My go to question has always been "Who's your favorite super hero?" I get all kinds of answers, and people tend to respond fairly well with it. So one day I get a new manager in my building. Guy is pure business. I hadn't had much interaction with him but I had heard he was a real hard ass from the get go. A couple days later I get on an elevator and he's in there. We say a few things back and forth when I do it without realizing. I had gotten comfortable with the conversation and I asked him before I could stop myself. Dude gets the biggest grin on his face before saying "I gotta go with my man, The Dark Knight!"
Whenever someone says their hero I ask how they feel about one of the DC/Marvel counterparts. So I ask how he feels about Iron Man. He tells me that iron man is ok, but he has always been a DC fan. I tell him that's cool and leave it at that. Next day, he finds me in my office and starts showing me pictures on his phone of his batman collection. Comics, movies, action figures, statutes, posters, a couple of lunch boxes, a model car. All kinds of shit. Dude f*cking LOVES batman. Turns into one of the best work friendships I ever had. We talked about comics and whatever new movies were coming out on a near daily basis. Eventually he left, and I haven't heard from him in a couple years, but I know he's out there. Somewhere. Fighting evil. And paperwork. And probably scaring people with how intense he is, because they don't know how his face lights up when he talks about Batman. My girlfriend would probably be jealous of our friendship.
On or In?
If one were to remove the cushions where people? sit on a couch, proceed to lay on the cushionless couch, and finally put the cushions over themselves; would they be IN the couch? A lot of people say that they are still ON the couch - which is bullsh*t when you look at the low amount of effort it takes to be "in" bed.
I think Chandler Bing had the best.
" So... Ebola... That's gotta suck eh?"
Silence Is Normal
Okay, my job and personal life VERY often put me in "awkward silence" situations. Not to mention I hate small talk and avoid it whenever possible.
Here's my approach.
First, two things:
1. Silence is normal and usually goes unnoticed.
2. Truly connecting with someone requires some vulnerability and curiosity.
For me, silence becomes awkward if there is some pressure or expectation for what the conversation SHOULD be. Maybe it's a first date and I want to connect with the dude or maybe I'm grabbing lunch with my boss and I want to have a good rapport with her.
So when I realize I'm feeling anxious, I take a deep, relaxing breath and exhale all the tension out (yeah, right in front of them!). Taking a deep breath helps calm my nerves. I also remind myself that silence is normal and it's not my job to carry the conversation.
I've noticed that by relaxing my nerves, I can help shift my own energy and hopefully signal to the other person that they should also feel at ease...
Once I relax and feel less pressure, conversation can come more naturally.
I might make a basic observation or ask a basic question ("so how long have you lived here") and listen carefully to the answer. Human beings are fascinating and complex. If you pay attention and care about what someone has to say, you are one step closer to genuinely connecting with them. Less small talk, more real talk. Be curious about who they are and what it's like to live life through their eyes.
Sometimes, the silence might give your companion an opportunity to speak up. Some folks need time to process and open up and, for them, a bit of silence is very welcome. Again, you aren't the only person in the conversation.
I'm an impatient and impulsive person who cares a lot about harmony. So I recognize that my discomfort with silence is my own weird thing. I try to take it as an opportunity to practice patience and listening.
"After taking a dump, do you wipe standing up or sitting down?"
This has caused large debate among friend groups and most can't believe some do it any way but theirs...
Then Again... Maybe Don't Ask Anything.
Why would I want to kill something as precious as silence.