How-to Give a Damn (Or Pretend to)

Ever go to work and bump into this one person who talks about everything possible, like what they did seven minutes ago, or how bad their life “really” is, and you’re the type that hates to inflict negative attention? Look no further! In a few more character lines, you will learn many techniques to get yourself back on the “faking-it” streamline! You’ll never feel so lie-prone in your life as you will now!

blah1.jpgIn order to prepare for this lesson, you must first remember that nothing should be considered important after using these techniques. This will make it as natural as possible, and you won’t get caught being segregative or you’ll never get accused of being a swinger! Impress your girlfriend (or boyfriend, if you’re into angsty guys. Fairly common, might I add.), and you may get something in return! (… ahem.) Now, onto the lecture!

  • Pick up keywords in the discussion. “This [null]”, triggers the response with, “why is that?”, but is nullified if you hear the word “because”. If in that case, you are authorized to give the stale, “I see”. If you hear any adjective at the end of a sentence, you may say “Why/how was it/he/she [adjective]?” Naturally, you will be able to pick up such keywords along your way.
  • Avoid ignoring pauses. If you draw the pause on too long, you’ve been caught for not listening! Avoid this by talking eye-to-eye (staring above the head gives the same effect if you want to watch what’s behind the person), and reading the lips from time to time to signifiy any upcoming stops.
  • Nodding in a concerned matter doesn’t work. Everyone knows what it means; you’re skipping for the good part of their discussion.
  • Never hold the right portion of your head when you’re talking. According to neurology, the right portion of your head controls your artistic side, while your left portion is used for analytical thinking. Your body language will give it away, even if the person you’re talking to isn’t a neurologist.
  • If you’ve gotten to the point where you don’t really want to talk to the person anymore, give body signals, such as looking at the exit from time to time (not for a long period of time), or resume what you’re doing gradually (For example, if you were reading before they came along and disturbed you, look down and continue to read sets of words at a time, then look back up with a slight sigh). I don’t advise doing so if the other person is in an angry rant.
  • Excusing yourself is possible if you’re not doing it suddenly, if you want to go somewhere. If you’re in an emergency, the other person should understand. If they don’t, then leave anyway. That just means you really needed to go.
  • Bright faces will cover anything. A sluggish, “fist-on-the-cheek” makes negative interpretations for the person’s speech.
  • Don’t “concentrate” on playing with objects on your desk. If you’re just spinning a pen around while listening (or not looking at the pen), the person talking will know it’s there, but they’ll pay no attention to it until you do.
  • Don’t interrupt, unless it’s absolutely necessary (like you really have to leave due to time). If you have to say something, save it for when they’re lost for words, or don’t say it at all. If you interrupt with something off topic, they’ll know you were thinking of something else while they were talking to the wall.
  • People like talking to mirrors more than concrete. This means that asking questions back that make them continue will make them feel better than to talk to someone who stares blankly at what they say, but claim they know what’s going on.
  • Although sarcasm is aloof, it really makes the person talking seem like you know what’s going on.
  • Never respond with something that doesn’t fit like puzzle pieces. Here’s what I mean:

“Okay, so I went to this zoo, and I saw a camel!”
“Oh really? Yeah, I remember this one time, they claimed that elephants had trunks at the Toronto Zoo! How bizarre was that!”
Although the topic is similar, it’s not exactly what the person was talking about.

Now, what if you’re the one talking, and you want the person to actually give a damn?

  • Don’t make up too many words. The first few are funny, but if you start speaking a hybrid of German-English, the person listening to you won’t know what you’re talking about, and they’ll get easily distracted by something else.
  • Make things you say understandable. If you start talking about the molecular discombobulator of the geometric spectrum of the focal variants of iteration, the person will not only feel stupid, but they’ll feel even more discouraged and reluctant to listen to what you have to say.
  • Don’t talk too slow, and don’t talk too fast. Compliment to the speed of your heart beating like a song with sixteenth notes. Pause at where you’d stick punctuation marks if you wrote them (and if you don’t know where they belong, I advise teaching yourself grammar before trying to talk to people). Nothing’s more annoying than to have someone that talks like Sean Connary with glue in his mouth, or a chipmunk on speed.
  • Don’t talk around the subject. Get to the point. No one really likes listening to how wonderful and phantasmagorical your everlasting love of satirical tourdelamain of parabolic words are. You’re talking to someone – not writing an essay.
  • Monotone voices may seem boring, but avoid talking slow with it. Slow and monotonous voices are great for insomniac lullabies.
  • Don’t be too critical. Short, jokingly-insulting lines are fine, but if you drag any joke longer, it’ll just offend the person as if you’re trying to attack them.
  • Implicitiy is nice, but save it for real surprise parties. After awhile, it’ll get old.
  • Finally, avoid keeping your audience hanging. If you lost your train of thought, then say so. If you strain anyone, they’ll get frustrated and avoid talking to you.

I hope giving a damn will be easier for you and your fellow collegues! Have fun, and remember to give a damn! (Or pretend to)

  1. You should just make a living writing instruction manuals. Educate us all! *shakes fist*

    Josephine October 19, 2006 at 8:53 pm