What to do when you don't know what to do. - TJ Guttormsen

What to do when you don’t know what to do.

It happens all the time. We suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we have no idea what to do or say.

It could be something as simple as a casual conversation, or something more important like a job interview. Either way, the experience tends to be a whole lot of no fun for most people.

But the good news is that there is a simple little social hack we can use in these situations. Kill it with attention.

The simplest, most reliable and most honest way to deal with these situations is to bring attention to them.

This might seem counter-intuitive to many people. After all, calling attention to the fact that we have no idea what to do or say seems like something that would just make things worse, right?


It turns out that when we call attention to it we get rid of the awkwardness. And as an extra bonus, we tend to trigger the other person to want to fix the situation. You see, the normal human reaction to seeing a problem is to problem-solve, and when the problem is easy to solve – people do it without thinking.

Let’s say you’re on a date and suddenly find yourself without anything to say. At this point, most people freeze, panic or run away. But what do you think will happen if you smile, shake your head, and say, “you know what, my mind just went completely blank, I can’t actually think of anything to say!”

Well, I can tell you from both mine and my clients’ experience that most likely your date will laugh, feel empathy (because this happens to everyone at times) and feel more comfortable with you because you’re both being honest and because you obviously have enough confidence to own it when things don’t go perfectly.

From there your date will tend to do or say whatever comes to mind to help solve the situation. They will keep talking, ask a question – or maybe that’s even the moment they realize that kissing doesn’t require talking 😉

So the next time you don’t know what to do, whatever the situation might be, try pointing it out. The more comfortable you are doing it, the better it will work out. But even if you’re nervous about it I guarantee that it’s a better solution than panicking!

– TJ

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My most popular online courses:

Authentic Assertiveness: Next level communication skills.
The secrets of Confidence and Communication.
How to make friends and create better social circles.

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