People Share the Best Ways to Avoid Awkward Silence in Conversations

Some people say that silence is golden…but what about when you’re trying to get to know someone?

Then silence can be incredibly awkward and it makes you want to look for the nearest exit.

So what are the best ways to avoid awkward silence in conversations?

Here’s what AskReddit users had to say.

1. Play a little music.

“In college I had a professor that would play music quietly when we had to form groups with new people.

This way when no one was talking it didn’t feel like awkward silence.

I would recommend this to anyone that has a group of people that are meeting for the first time.”

2. A classic!

“”Any big plans for the weekend?”

The old barber special.”

3. Here’s the trick.

“The trick I have learned as a lifelong introvert is that people *love* talking about themselves. For example, if they said they come from city X or country Y, you can ask them if they love living there and if yes, what do they prefer?

If not, why not, or where would they prefer living? If you can find their passion (whether it’s binge watching Netflix series, making tiny glass vases for their hamsters, or going to country music festivals), you’ll be golden.

Even if it’s not something that you yourself find interesting, you can fake it by making appropriate comments and asking follow-up questions (how did you get into that? what’s your favourite series/technique/artist? what’s your next project?). Remember, this is about learning about them, not coming up with the most savvy reply, so actually listen to what they say.

Alternatively, an awkward silence can be a great point to cut the conversation short and leave, if that’s what you want to do.”

4. Ask questions.

“It’s all about the open-ended questions.

Avoid questions that can be answered with Yes/No or short phrases.”

5. Keep them laughing.

“Crack jokes, so instead of silence, it’s laughing. and while you’re laughing, quickly think of what you want to say after.”

6. I’d like to get to know you.

“Ask the person questions about their hobbies, job and family.

People tend to enjoy talking to those points.”

7. Catch up on the news.

“Have a news app on your phone that sends you a notification about the latest event.

I have one pop up every morning and if there’s awkward silence it’s always “did you hear what’s going on today with such and such?”.

I also enjoy the read in the morning which is nice.”

8. Read the room.

“Honestly depends on the situation. Is it work, is it date, is it something else.

But try to read the room when it comes to people. Keep up the pace in something thats okay for both of you.

Too much over the top talking just to talk can also be awkward.”

9. Let it flow.

“Only ask questions that you’re actually interested in hearing the answer to or that you know the subject matter enough to keep the conversation going if that’s what you’re wanting.

Obviously, the more interested YOU are the more the conversation will just seem to flow.”

10. Could work?

“Avoid awkward silence during a conversation by f**ting.

That will distract from the long pause in conversation and provide a new topic of conversation.”

11. Try this method.

“There’s always the FORD method:

  • Family,
  • Occupation,
  • Recreation,
  • Dreams

Just be careful not to come off as disingenuous.”

12. Let ’em fly!

“Ask a question!

I had a situation at school this week where we had to bring someone in and my person bailed last minute so I had to post online and find a stranger to come in with me. We provide a service that people would need or want.

So I have this stranger come in and I don’t know anything about him except his name. Anytime there was a long pause I would just ask him about himself. What does he like to do? Had he done anything he was proud of during quarantine. How is he feeling with the shut downs. How is his work affected. After learning where he works just asking more questions about his work.

With friends I do the same. Ask follow up questions to things they have said. There is always more that can be explained. Eventually they’ll say something you can relate to or have something of your own to share.

Do you read about things that are interesting to you? Ask them have you heard (and then tell them about something you read or saw on the news). Do you like a certain show or video game? Do they?

MOST important: don’t rapid fire questions. Let them naturally connect. Use what they said to either comment or ask for more information. If you’re jumping from question to unrelated question it’s going to come off really impersonal.

At worst it will seem like you’re trying to control the conversation and avoid talking about yourself.”

Do you have any ideas about this?

If you do, tell us about them in the comments.

Thanks a lot!