1. Do you ever get distracted when someone is talking to you?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
When to use this: Any conversation. Because it’s fun to say tertiary.
What this phrase accomplishes: This allows you to say tertiary.