6 Phrases I Use When I’ve Lost Track Of A Conversation

How to make it seem like you were listening!

1. Do you ever get distracted when someone is talking to you?

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

2. Here are six phrases I use when I’ve completely lost track of what someone was saying. In most cases, they’ll make it seem like you were listening the whole time!

3. #1

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

When to use this: A conversation about some kind of problem. People are always talking about problems, so this question likely fits in anywhere.

What this phrase accomplishes: This moves the conversation forward! Unless the conversation was about how you never listen. In that case, this question will come off as poorly timed.

4. #2

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

When to use this: Most work-related conversations. Jobs tend to give you deadlines and stuff, and it’s kind of unfortunate but true.

What this phrase accomplishes: This shows you have a vague sense of the content of the conversation and are concerned, even if you don’t know what’s going on at this particular moment.

5. #3

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

When to use this: In almost any conversation. Ninety-nine percent of growing up is managing your expectations — like we all thought we’d at least be close to getting hoverboards by now, but turns out we aren’t.

What this phrase accomplishes: This makes your friend think about his/her expectations, and that buys you some time to figure out what this conversation is about.

6. #4

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

When to use this: When you’re listening to someone vent.

What this phrase accomplishes: This is a good way to find out if your friend has fallen into a bizarre world of solipsistic self-pity. It happens!

7. #5

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

When to use this phrase: When your friend is facing a dilemma.

What this phrase accomplishes: This phrase shows empathy. Also it gives your friend fair warning that you are not going to offer any solutions, because you sure don’t have any.

8. #6

Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

When to use this: Any conversation. Because it’s fun to say tertiary.

What this phrase accomplishes: This allows you to say tertiary.

9. Do you have any good, ambivalent phrases to throw out in such a conversation? Let me know!

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