Having a person there who sees all my faults, but loves me anyway. The security knowing there is a least one individual who every once in a blue moon will laugh at one of my jokes. Note how I said one in the singular sense. Jenn doesn’t think I am nearly as clever as I do. There is nothing better than after a hard day of work opening the door to a house that smells like a freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. These are just a few reasons why I am thankful to have a ring around my finger.
Tonight I get to add another thanks to something I uncovered during my research on how relationships evolve. Research shows that awkward silence occurs every 7 minutes in a normal conversation, but every 3 and half minutes when you are on a date. This means I have an extra 3 and half minutes to come with something to say that is intelligent and insightful or muster the strength to eek out a grunt when I am faced with dead silence. On a side note, maybe the reason why the awkward silence occurred more frequently on a date is that a scientist with a stopwatch makes for one doozie of a third wheel.
In my attempt to be proactive in pursuing relationships this month, I have experienced my fair share of blank stares and glossed over eyes when striking up a conversation. I was hoping people would notice my feeble attempt at improving myself and throw me a bone by taking the lead in the conversation. Unfortunately, the utter shock they experienced when this former mute actually opened up his mouth was too great for them to handle.
After one to many long pauses that ended in “um…well Tony…it was..um…great talking to you,” I decided to seek words of wisdom from people much wiser than myself: online relationship gurus. Yet another letdown. The social “experts” suggested asking safe questions on random topics like sports, movies or the weather to start lines of communication. Wow, I don’t know what shocks me more: they actually believe people never thought to do this before or that one can earn a substantial living doling out this type of advice.
Since it appears that people will listen to just about anyone for direction in their relationships, I figured why not throw my hat into the ring. So, for what they are worth, which is probably not a lot, here are a few tips of the trade this socially stunted individual came up with in dealing with awkward silence in conversations:
TIP #1 – Instead of asking about the weather or sports, my suggestion would be to cut to the chase and ask the person staring blankly at you what the best way is to break a moment of awkward silence?
TIP #2 – The plain and simple fact is that people are vain. They love to talk about themselves. Start asking questions left and right about their interests, hobbies or job. You earn brownie points because you seem genuinely interested in what they have to say when in actuality your thoughts are focused on whether you are going to have Italian or Chinese for dinner tonight. I hesitated to include this one since chances are good that because you already struggle to create dialogue with this person that you could give two rips about their love for woodworking or clogging.
TIP #3 – Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, you can only utilize this tip in a large social setting while you are attempting to mingle. If you are in the middle of a business meeting, catching up with someone at a coffee shop or eating dinner at a friend’s house and use said trick, people will become concerned and slip you pamphlets with diagrams of your prostate plastered all over the cover.
TIP #4 – Flatulence always does the trick. All farts that is except for the silent but deadly variety. When funk suddenly appears out of nowhere and continues to mingle it only adds to the awkwardness. If you are going to use this trick make sure you farts are loud and proud.
TIP #5 – Open your eyes really wide, let out a huge sigh, wipe your hands together and then simply walk away. When the person stops you and asks where you are going, turn around and say in your best Forrest Gump voice, “I might not be a smart man, but I know what a dead conversation is.”