Thoughts on the Dreaded Awkward Silence…

We all have those awkward silences right? Honestly though, I have never given much thought to WHY it’s so awkward. So basically, what makes those awkward moments so awkward?

This intriguing(well, maybe not, but that’s just my opinion) question occurred to me during Chinese school today(of all places). I was selected to do this speech competition thing with two other people in my class, and we had to walk all the way across the campus to the other side of the school to get to the classroom where the competition was held. It was like the perfect set up for a long seven to ten minute silent and awkward walk with people you’ve known for at least a year but have never bothered to talk to. Either that, or we’d all hit it off immediately and become besties by the time we came back to our classroom(I’ve been in both situations).

The problem with things like this is that you really never know what to do, since everyone reacts differently. I just here like: “Is it socially acceptable for me to stop pretending this person doesn’t exist and engage in friendly conversation with them, or is it like they’ll feel offended that I never bothered to talk to them even though I’ve seen them every week for the past year and I’m only doing it now because I’m bored?” It’s so strange because I always assume others will react the same way I do(I mean, I’m offended when I become a “second option,” but so iis everyone else right?), but some people don’t notice or even care about this fact while others(like me) feel really offended (I really hope I’m not along in this), yet act like there’s nothing wrong.

And that my friend, is the scariest part of the awkward moment: when you don’t know if the other person is trying to pretend you don’t exist and ignore the awkwardness or if they’re silently judging you. For someone like me, who probably cares a little to much about being judged, this is one of the worst things that could possibly happen. 

This post has now officially become a rant. Let me just briefly go over some other situations where this awkward silence thing really pisses me off. First, it’s when you meet a new person and you start talking about your interests and it feels like there’s a special connection. And then suddenly the topic well runs dry. Personally, I’m the kind of person who finds it hard to keep a conversation going, even when I’m really trying. So when this happens it’s kind of like: “I, the awkward one, am stressing my butt off to find an interesting topic to talk about, and you sir, are just standing there. Are you doing the same thing as me? Or are you just being lazy and waiting for me to awkwardly try to initiate another discussion? Do you even want to be my friend? Is that why you started talking to me? Or was that just because you were bored? Have I become a simple distraction from boredom for you? Is that what you really think of me? Fine then, I’ve decided to drop this conversation altogether and allow this awkward silence to continue, just to spite you.” 

The thoughts go through your head, and you just tell yourself you’re being ridiculous. Before you know it, the awkward silence has reached its final form, where both of you are silently telling excuses to yourself for not continuing the conversation. 

I guess this kind of thing basically applies in all social situations. However, I feel that its most horrifying form is felt in that dreaded awkward silence. I have much more to say on this topic(I have not even began to cover awkward silences between friends), but then this would become an essay(oh wait, too late).

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