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Featured why I chose "AwkwardSilence" as ID here

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by AwkwardSilence, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. AwkwardSilence

    AwkwardSilence Active Member

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    Since I'm new here, I have a lot of reading to do on the boards. But one phenomenon I'd like to ask about now:

    I've been told that most people, when asked a question, will either answer immediately or make some kind of sound ("hmmm..." "well..." "uh...") to let the questioner know they've been heard and understood.

    I never think of that, so I give no visible or audible reaction right away, but silently go into my head to determine the best answer. It never occurs to me to add a filler.

    If, for example, I'm asked if I want a pizza or a sandwich, my internal debate begins...what did I eat yesterday, what am I likely to have later, let me recall the taste of each, how hungry am I....and I guess they're wondering what's going on. But that piece of my brain that should indicate "got it, I'll get back to you in a few seconds" doesn't exist.

    One of my office mates once told me, years ago, that some of the other workers had wondered if I was retarded or hard of hearing because I didn't respond right away.

    Is this familiar to anyone here?
     
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  2. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I do think that is pretty common around these parts. One coping/masking mechanism I used was to take up juggling and always carry around the juggling balls. Then when someone asked me a question I would start juggling to keep them entertained while I processed the question internally. ;)
     
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  3. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    no I've never done that I wanted to I always try to answer them too fast and my gut is in a permanent knot
     
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  4. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    Yeah. My boyfriend regularly tells me he is waiting for some sort of answer or any kind of response that lets him know I’ve actually heard him, while I’m busy working out a response in my head.
     
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  5. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I do make these sounds when I know I have been asked a question or a response is expected. It's something I learned early on to do, otherwise they think that I didn't hear. My problem is more that I don't always realise that I'm supposed to respond, or sometimes I don't realise that someone has spoken to me. I have long awkward silences because I often don't know what to say or how to continue a conversation, but that's a different story.
     
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  6. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    This is me, too. Not giving those cues has led to some difficulty in the past. My first time talking to my now wife was on the phone and there were a lot of looooong pauses as I tried to think of the right thing to say. She tells me that she would hold the phone away from her ear, point to it and ask her dad (who introduced us to each other), "Does this guy even know how to talk?" (The answer was no. No, I didn't. I learned how to talk to people from her).

    I still forget to give those cues sometimes. Sometime afterward, I will go back to the person and explain, "I heard everything you said, but I was processing it and just realized that I never responded."

    Usually I can reply with "Let me think about that for a minute" or "I'm going to have to take some time to digest/process that."

    If it's math, I can usually do it while I'm talking, so I'll stall with "That's an interesting question, but I think that..." I think of it as dumping a sentence to my speech center and then dedicating my attention to the math while the words are coming out. When it works well, it looks like I just knew the answer, because I was talking and then I said the answer.
     
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  7. AwkwardSilence

    AwkwardSilence Active Member

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    I thought it was a sign of respect that I took the time to think about the best answer.

    Progster, how did you learn to do that? Were you coached by parents, teachers, therapist, etc? Was it trial and error?

    NervousRex, you have a talent to trigger a response from yourself. I wish I did. Even if I recited a canned reply to myself over and over, it wouldn't come when needed. It's like a bridge that hasn't been built.
     
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  8. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    I just tell em to hold. While I fight ninjas who stole my words away.
     
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  9. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Sometimes l zone out due to boredom. In this case, l always have to ask what is the question. My brain turns off and everything is considered outside interference. I think we get lost in our thought processes. Being present can be difficult because you have to run on autopilot.
     
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  10. rubicks52

    rubicks52 Member

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    I've been wondering recently if I need to get my hearing checked because so many of my conversations go like this:

    Friend: mumbles something
    Me: what?
    Friend: starts to repeat it
    Me: Oh no wait, I got it now.

    Silver lining is that the awkward silence is instead filled by them repeating whatever they just said.
     
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  11. AwkwardSilence

    AwkwardSilence Active Member

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    I'm afraid it's often filled by them thinking to themselves, "What an idiot." I feel like hiding away when I think about how often that's happened in 60+ years.
     
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  12. OrangeSquash

    OrangeSquash Member

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    similarly to this, I often observe that people will automatically accept what they are offered, ie "hey, would you like a coffee/beer/slice of pizza?" and everybody automatically says "yes please, that'd be lovely/swell/bang on!" but when I politely say "no thank you" people automatically assume I'm in a grump or that I sent *like* coffee/beer/slice of pizza. I used to find it frustrating, but no I just find it funny!!
     
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  13. AwkwardSilence

    AwkwardSilence Active Member

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    OrangeSquash, a little bit like when someone asks "How are you?" and you actually tell them!
     
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  14. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Trial and error, I suppose. Plus watching what other people do.
     
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  15. Peter Morrison

    Peter Morrison Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Everyone has different ways of communicating, but the long silence suggests that the speaker was not heard. If it worries you, try adding a phrase like "let me think", so you can think in peace. Most people know when you have heard them, unless you are talking from room to room. There is benefit from talking when you can see the other person. Some questions evolve into a discussion. It's not fun to yell questions and answers between rooms. It's like playing walkie-talkie.
     
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  16. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    One time when I was still a young kitten living at home, I asked my father a question. He did not respond. I went about my business, figuring he was deep in thought or something.

    Ten minutes later, walking past him again, I was startled to hear him answer my question!

    Yeah, I do think he was on the spectrum... I'm sure of it, in fact.
     
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  17. AwkwardSilence

    AwkwardSilence Active Member

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    I know the kind of holding-pattern response I should give, and could even advise someone like me about it, but in an actual conversation, I don't have the reflex action to produce it. That would be like a detour when I'm only focused on providing an actual answer. (Sorry for the mixed metaphors.)
     
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  18. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    The nice thing about being old, people just think that I did not hear them. This gives me a moment to decide if I even want to respond and then form a appropriate response.
     
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  19. AwkwardSilence

    AwkwardSilence Active Member

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    clg, that’s true. It was about 20 years ago that I was told my co-workers’ suspicions. Maybe hearing loss seems more likely to people now.
     
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  20. Rebecca Merriam

    Rebecca Merriam Active Member

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    Yep, I've overheard coworkers talking about how weird i am, and I learned eventually how to make conversation even though it feels unnatural to me, eventually I started telling people im hard of hearing so people don't just start asuming worse things