That, there above you ^^^^, is an Awkward Silence. ( Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary ). And in our beautiful Britain, in all its apparent invisibility yet utter density, it is as common as an emo in eyeliner. On average, someone living in this country will experience 2 of these a day, which adds up to 730 times a year!* Crikey.
People just don't like silence when in company with each other. It sticks to the skin, make you squirm and what's more you can't shake its effects even once said silence is frantically filled. (BAD IDEA TO TRY TO FILL IT AS I WILL STRESS OVER AND OVER AGAIN)
Like when you see an accquaintance from a while back (you know, the ones you would refer to as your 'friend' back in school, when really you only spoke five times for the whole seven years?).You exchange niceties, howareyouwhatareyoudoningatthemomentOhhhthatsniceYeahI'm okayjustatuniit'sgoingreallywellthanks. And then there it is, in all it soundless glory. And all you can say is bettergetgoingyeahnicetoseeyou. Awkwaarrrddd.
Or perhaps when you get picked on in class, or lecture. Oh, [insert name] what are your thoughts on this?, that kinda thing. Your face grows hot, you rack your brain thinking of a viable get-out clause, but to no avail. You could hear an atom drop. There it is again.
You drop a clanger. The atmosphere turns practically minus-decibels.
Terrible date. Silence you'd need a chainsaw to hack through.
Bad joke.No sound.
So, I suggest we, as British Subjects of the Crown (or otherwise, but you live here) EMBRACE the silence. There's nothing wrong with it! You don't have to fill it! Bask in it, I mean, it's only silence, right? I know, I know, it's not very nice when you've run out of things to say, but I tell you the truth, it is worse to try to break the vice-hold with an equally(if not moreso) cringe-worthy cough, throat-clearance or quip.
Next time you are confronted by a barrage of nothingness when you tell a bad joke or try to force a conversation with someone you don't know very well, just shut up. Smile. Yeah, it will take a while to get over the cringe-factor, but you'll get there time after time. It takes adjusting. Just.Don't.Try.To.Fill.It.
And just one more thing. DON'T GO ROUND CREATING THEM! These are the surefire ways of doing just that:
- Asking someone something if you don't really care what the answer is, you just want to look pleasant.
- Starting conversations just to be polite
- Being too fakely overenthusiastic when approaching a mundane conversation-it only amplifies the silence when it inevitable appears.
Silences will appear though. But learn to love them, they don't have to be a threat to your comfort. Learn to be comfortable with other human beings without having to be doing or saying something...And as stressed before Don't.Try.To.Fill.Them. It will only make it worse. I promise.Trust me on this one.
*made up statistic.