The person sitting next to you takes a seat…
What happens here is a big moment. Do you engage in small talk, which somehow usually leads into longer talk? For the sake of argument, let say yes, you do. You’re chatting about the small irrelevant things like weather, time spent in whichever place you are, why you’re in the current place you’re in, etc…
You’re starting to get worried because you’re realizing that what you thought was small talk has turned into medium talk and you’ve just started to discuss your job. Shit, is this a full-fledged conversation? Yes, it is. It’s inevitable that you need to work yourself out of this conversation but you don’t know how, what’s a good segway?
This is an interesting moment because you know you could open up the conversation and make a larger investment but that’s not what flights are for; flights are for catching up on shit you were supposed to do on the ground.
ENTER: The inevitable awkward transition.
I hate this moment because I know for a fact that I (or anybody) cannot engage in a 3.5 hour airplane conversation and you need to end it. Deep down inside I hope that the other person is feeling the same thing so this conversation can be cut easily be cut short and not in awkward fashion. In my flying experience this is how you know you’ve entered that odd awkward zone:
- You’re talking and asking questions – everything seems fine.
- Stewardess comes on and tells you how to buckle your seatbelt and your conversation is sort of slowing.
- If you make a joke about the stewardess then you know you’re running out of conversation.
- Post stewardess there will be another push into conversation.
- Take off is happening and you’re starting to look out the window like you’re mentally wishing the town you’re leaving a “goodye” but wait… The person next to you brings up one more talking point.
- After the talking point you find yourself just staring at the seat in front of you – You’re in the zone.
You now need to decide how the remainder of the flight is going to go, are you going to close your eyes? Start reading your book? Open your computer? Either way it’s inevitable that your actions are saying “I’m done with this conversation.” There is no easy transition because you kind of want to be nice but at the same time, the conversation is over.
You transition away from talking to the person next to you and start doing whatever it is you want to do, with a former conversation just lingering.
I hate the awkward transition but is this just me? It can’t be, I see it happen all the time, but maybe I just over complicate what should be a mutual understanding that it’s time to stop talking.
If you’ve mastered this art then all the power to you and you should consider yourself a jedi in plane etiquette. By the way, this whole scenario can be null and void if you just don’t spark conversation… but wheres the fun in that?