Awkward. …Pause.

Have you ever been ignored?

People are chatting about something, you interject. In a loud clear voice, a comment that you think is funny, or smart, or at least worthy of acknowledgement. Just a grunt. Just a glance. But they ignore you.

woman

No? Just me, huh?

(Don’t mind the beautiful people, they’re just here to make reading a little easier).

I want to understand why this happens, cause it does happen, a lot. The more I become aware of how other people interact, the more sensitive I am to it. Some people say it is because my voice is different. The hard-of-hearing accent is odd-sounding L’s and R’s, missing T’s, K’s and S’s, and a lower pitch overall. Maybe this voice is so unexpected that people miss it, the way drivers sometimes miss seeing a motorcyclist. They expect 2 headlights, not one, so they don’t see the one headlight at all. Splat.

Other people say it’s a problem of timing. Even with the best mechanical ears money can buy, I only hear a small percentage of the words in a conversation. My brain fills the rest in based on context. It’s hard work, and sometimes there’s a millisecond processing delay. You know how when you’re Skyping, and the connection is a bit slow? There’s a delay, and you keep accidentally talking over the other person. Even if it’s your friend that you normally have great conversations with, the delay causes awkwardness because the timing is off.

So, I’ve got a little of that going on, but in real life.

Any other ideas?

ryan

 

Published by

Shannon Graham

Shannon has been writing brief essays and occasional how-to articles at Rocketships, Unaffiliated (.ca) whenever inspiration strikes, since 2012. She is interested in your opinion.

6 thoughts on “Awkward. …Pause.”

  1. In my experience I’ve found this is based on the level of acceptance you have with the group/other person in the conversation. Some people will acknowledge your comments, however mistimed, while others will talk over you (the general you, not you Shannon Graham). And if they respect you, and they didn’t get what you said the first time, they’ll ask “what’s that, [you]?”

    In social contexts I think it all boils down to rapport. Just my 2 cents. Its not you, its them.

  2. At least with you the awkward pause isn’t your fault. Any time one of these happens to me, it’s related to something stupid/weird that I said, and I get the “wtf” look from people. This is especially likely if there are people in the group whom I don’t know well.

  3. maybe the timing aspect isn’t with processing but when exactly the comment or interjection occurs. Some can get testy and ignore you based on what they supposed is bad manners evidenced by an ill-timed comment or interjection. Like if they haven’t finished their thought yet or are eagerly awaiting a certain person’s response (that isn’t you).
    Also, in conversations, people routinely ignore others if they don’t have an appropriate response for what ever reason. xxo

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