As you should know, humans are creatures of habit. At the core, we are all the same inside no matter what our cultural up bringing is, where we live or where we are in the stepladder of society. If you have opposable thumbs, breathe and you are classified as human person of sentient intelligence then you should be able to understand human nature. The point is that we can all relate to life experiences shared by others because it’s common place.
Take this example as something you could possibly relate to. The moment when you are having a stimulating conversation with a friend or colleague and you accidentally space out for two seconds. The next thing you know, you’ve caught the butt end of a Wombles conversation and you are not sure what the hell is going on. You wait for the cue to initiate a natural response because you really don’t want to make yourself look like a total idiot or offend anyone.
Cue Generic Response:
- They laugh, you laugh
- They smile, you laugh
- If they look at you as if asking “what do you think?”, you shrug, grunt and then you laugh
- If they get up and walk away, take it as a win but know it’s going to bite you in the ass somewhere down the line
- If you get no cue to react, just ask them to hold that thought, make like you forgot you had something urgent to attend to and walk away with purpose. Win an Oscar
Those generic responses don’t hide your failure to have a simple conversation. People are not stupid most of the time and you may just end up looking like more of a tool for trying to hide it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying do nothing because that would be even worse. The last thing anyone wants to see is two human beings staring at each other in awkward silence.
Rather try something outside of the norm to freshen things up:
- Start speaking womble, you will either get a forced repeat of the last part of the conversation or a generic response (steps 1-5) in return. Either way you win
- Just be honest and tell the person he mumbles. There is nothing wrong with you having the attention span of a squirrel
- Stop them mid sentence and start chatting about this great movie that you saw called “lost in translation” and see if they get the point
- Try miming broken telephone
Think about it next time the situation happens and consider this. You could just be honest and ask the person to repeat themselves. Instead of trying to parlay the inevitable.