How to Break Awkward Silences
Steps you can take to fill awkard silences.
November 14, 2012
You are in your best friend’s birthday bash and you suddenly find yourself beside a stranger. Do you know how to break that awkward silence? Read on and we’ll show you how to be strike a conversation the smart and witty way.
- A neutral topic is the first thing that should come into mind. If you are eating together with someone you don’t know, something as simple as the food can make a good opening statement. You can also talk about the weather or even the news or current events. If you feel that you are inexperienced in small talk, start with something simple like, “Hey, did you watch the basketball finals last night?” Avoid complicated sentiments like, “How do you feel about what’s happening to Darfur?” unless you have substantial knowledge to talk about such topic.
- Respond promptly with something related to what has been mentioned in the previous item.
- A good conversationalist is both a good speaker and listener. Listen to what your talking partner has to say.
- After listening and reflecting carefully, make another relevant comment.
- Talking about your achievements can make a fruitful conversation. This is because the other person can talk about his or her achievements as well or try to compare his achievements with yours. For example, if you have a large swimming pool, show a picture and let the other person examine it as much as he likes. If you just switched careers, you can talk about your work experiences and how you feel about your old and current job. Don’t forget to let the other person share his or her inputs, too.
- Questions or topics that are answerable by yes or no might make the conversation awkward and at the same time you might run out of topics to talk about. Avoid conversation stoppers that might end up with the statement, “Yeah that was really funny”. Instead, you might prefer something such as “Remember how it was when you needed to go to the loo but you can’t find it?” And then laugh.
- Prior to going to a social event, think of topics to talk about. Recent events or things that you like to do are great examples.
- If you’re out of something to say, check your phone. The other person might be interested in the phone you have and might start talking about it or you can talk about a memorable moment about your phone.
- Relax and give the other person a chance to contribute something to the conversation. Remember, you are trying to strike a conversation, not a monologue.
- Try responding to a question and then asking something related to your answer or the question itself. This way, the conversation continues.
- Divert the awkwardness to an object in the room and make an interesting or intriguing comment about it. You can say, “Did you know that the big carpets on the walls were flown all the way from India? It is said that the owner of this building had Indian origins and is very fond of elephants” or something to this effect.
- If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can find an activity that has to be done right away with help if necessary. Something with cocktails is always useful. You can also pretend to be resident coat checkers.
- You can resort to the classic joke “Awkward Turtle!” which basically means awkward moment. If someone gets it, he’ll laugh, but if no one gets it, then you can use this as a topic of the conversation.
- You can talk about the rock band “Awkward Silence”. It’s a great way to change subjects at the same time casually noting the awkward moment.
- Don’t try to be funny when it’s not your thing. It is always best to be yourself because people can easily tell if someone is trying too hard.