What were we just talking about?

20 07 2011

So, you’re talking to your significant other or your best friend or your parents and you’re into the conversation at first. It started out interesting, hanging on to every word and following the path of the story with genuine curiosity. You really want to pay attention to what he/she is saying.

But something happens.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment of how it begins (either you smoked too much herbal fun or maybe your ADD just kicked in or something distracted you) but it happens.

Everything goes blank.

In an instant your mind wanders to la la land and you’re left with this person talking to you about something you can’t even remember. It only takes a few seconds before you come back and catch the last bit of the conversation.

Then a question is asked.

What do you think? What should I do? Don’t you agree? How do you feel about that?

And you’re hoping the blank stare on your face isn’t as noticeable as it feels. As quickly as you can, you dig into the archives of your memory in hopes that something was recording while you were out.

Most of the times you aren’t lucky enough to get a 50/50 yes or no question. Although it still sucks getting it wrong or getting it right but the tone of uncertainty in your voice causes a questionable stare from the person talking. You feel like they are on to you and that you may have gotten the answer right this time but they are on guard now for the conversations to come.

But when it’s that question that requires your honest, heart-felt opinion, well that’s a whole other story. First of all, be careful not to let too much dead space or quiet pause time go on after the last words are spoken. It’s a dead give away that you weren’t paying attention.

Secondly, don’t try to answer it if you can’t even remember the topic of conversation. And don’t change the subject either because then you’ll come across as being rude or insensitive.

What you need to do is be quick and witty. Answer the question with a question but not just any question. Try something like, “What? Let me get this straight. What exactly is it you’re asking me?” or “You really want to know what I think? Hold on, run this by me again so I can give you a clear answer.”

The key is to be quick. Remember as much as you can from before you drifted and play dumb a little in order to get them to at least repeat the question. Listen carefully for any clues or perhaps the stalling question will give you the time needed to remember something and form an answer.

Don’t pretend they didn’t ask you anything, don’t start talking about the weather, and don’t pause too much before responding with something.

There are a lot of distractions out there. It happens to the best of us!

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