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The most pointless conversation I’ve ever had

Bumped into someone yesterday and had a brief chat. Well, they had a brief chat, I had nothing; it was without a doubt the dumbest conversation I’ve ever had, I feel like an idiot.

They opened the conversation with a couple of sentences, I couldn’t understand a word of it. The obvious thing to do was to tell them I didn’t hear them, so why didn’t I? I guess I was thinking, “I might be able to pick up a few words and work out what they are going on about“. I didn’t.

They talked a bit more, their mannerisms suggested they weren’t asking a question so I just nodded and smiled. Still no idea what they are talking about and now I have a problem: they’ve been talking for enough time for it to be very awkward for me to say, “uhh… sorry, I haven’t heard a word you said for the last 5 minutes”.

In the end I started just saying some stuff myself, could’ve been relevant but I very much doubt it. I did pick up one of their questions at the end of the conversation and answered that but in a 5 or 6 minute conversation I head about 4 words and never told them, I just tried to bluff it.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Think I learnt an important lesson: If I can’t hear or understand the first sentence someone says then it is unlikely that I am going to be able to hear anything they say after that. People normally have their own comfortable speaking volume and style and they aren’t going to suddenly change after one sentence. If I don’t hear straight away I need to tell them and not get myself into that situation again.

What do you do? Do you mention you can’t hear straight away or let yourself get into a sticky situation?