Sunday, May 3, 2009

The moment of blankness

The moment of blankness? Let me explain.

This is the state your brain momentarily goes in when:

a. you are asked a question or an opinion. You give a monosyllable answer. "xyz is like that. Don't you think so?" "ya". Silence. The other person waits for you to elaborate but quite simply you don't have anything else to add. Sometimes, you know what to say. You have lot more to add. But, suddenly, in that particular instant of time, you blank out. If I can put a picture to this moment of 'thinking', it'll be a bright white image. 2-minutes after that, all the ideas/thoughts come flooding in. Arghh!

b. you've been chatting with a complete stranger. All common conversational topics are dealt with. The conversation is now interspersed with long awkward pauses and it finally comes to grinding halt. You both experience a loud silence. You try to conjure up a question/topic but nothing comes in mind. Not a zilch! A quick blank look and an artificial smile are exchanged...both parties desperate to bail out of tete a tete. (I don't experience this anymore. My friend does! If need be, I tactfully wriggle myself out.)

Social butterflies don't seem to experience this at all. They seamlessly move from person to person. One conversation to next. Being masters of small talk, they can keep going on and on without communicating anything significant. Certain traits are in-born I guess.

It is interesting this 'blankness' rarely happen when in company with a close friend or family. Is it because there is an inclination to communicate? A willingness to open up? We tend to listen more and we actually care?

c. you are hard-pressed to make a nothing-to-say-but-u-better-say-something-to prove-u-mentally-exist-in-this-room statement in a group discussion.

d. learning a new subject (you read the theory and go um-humm...then? and go back reading)

e. writing - a blog post or a letter - esp. writing philosophical, arts topics. God!

Have you experienced this?

Speech seems to be idiosyncratic to the level of person's thinking 'processes' at a given time.


  1. reading others blog post adds to the list ;-)

  2. Have i experienced this nope...not that i remember of...

    "It is interesting this 'blankness' rarely happen when in company with a close friend or family. Is it because there is an inclination to communicate? A willingness to open up? We tend to listen more and we actually care?" - Not sure thats the case....its simpler than that...its exactly opposite to what u said...there is no "NEED" to do all that when ur with frnds and family...u say watever u want and whenever u want....without feeling u might hurt someone / screw up ur rep..

    You knw wat i mean, right...its jst that unfamiliarity that causes the "pauses"....i am saying pauses becos i dnt understand this "blankness"...becos if something similar happens to me...i would still be thinking abt how to start the conv..not going blank...

    how do u go blank....??? this a state of mind where nothing is happening...ur not thinking...can this even be achievable...dnt say sleep :)....thts jst stupid///...

    i think i shuld stop ....its jst making me look stupid :)///


  3. sriram bro, i feel ur awkwardness. may be you should just be like:

    thats nice to hear, but i think you are confusing me with some one who actually GIVES A SHIT.

    try it you will feel better. peace

  4. Answer c). Every now and then. Doesn't happen if talk is about something I find interesting.

  5. dot - if I understood u right, thru this post, i induced a momentary blankness in u. hehe... right?

    abhi, yea unfamiliarity cud be a reason. during the 'blank' instant, we are still thinking. but nothing comes up. its like running in a treadmill...u r running, but not going anywhere.

    none of the sleep crap..come on man! just wanna emphasise again, this is very momentary and doesn't happen all the time.

    Kumz, we've discussed this before. glad u know wat i exactly mean.

    themavericksdiary, thanks. welcome! yes, its always during the weird & awkward times.

  6. Nice point you made in your post about small-talkers. This is a completely mysterious gift to me. What I can't understand is, how come they never get bored?

  7. Haha, this definitely happens, social butterfly or not. It's funny when your brain goes into overdrive trying to think of an interesting topic, and you end up with something useless like "what is your favourite colour?", which does nothing but create an even longer silence. My general solution to awkward silences is to say "awkward silence". It makes it even more awkward than it already is and more often than not, the other person starts laughing. Try it :P

    I think with close friends you generally skip small talk all-together. After a generic "what's up" it goes into "remember my cousins friends older brothers dog?". And when life is in that much detail there really is no room for awkwardness.

  8. Lonne Mann, some people are just wired that way. The just keep going.

    foreigndesi, 'awkward silence'. lol.