Every now and then, we’re all guilty of zoning out during a conversation. Maybe you missed a word or two in someone’s last sentence, or maybe you legitimately forgot they were there. Whatever etiquette disaster you’ve gotten yourself into, here’s how you can convince someone that you were listening by responding with a bland, emotionally generic, “Heeeey, Macarena.” They’ll have no idea!
They’re looking at you like, “What do you think?” and what you’re thinking is, “Oh, NOOOO.” Remember: this isn’t your fault—honestly, it’s rude of this person to be so boring. Just stay calm—if you want them to believe you heard whatever the fuck they just told you, you’ve got to play it cool as you give them a poker-faced, “Heeeey, Macarena.”
Take your time.
Give yourself a few seconds (one-maca, two-maca, three-Macarena) before you respond. Maybe you’ll even remember one or two of the words in their last sentence! (You won’t.)
Make eye contact.
After you’ve taken a moment, look up and make deep, soul-connecting eye contact, the kind of eye contact that says, “I’ve definitely been paying attention,” and “I understand,” and “Heeeey, Macarena.” That will assure them that you weren’t just totally disregarding them as a person as they continue to tell you about work, or poetry, or cheese or something.
Don’t back out.
At this point, you might be trying to think of other ways out of this scenario. There are none. You’re going to — what? — apologize and own up to spacing out? Go fuck yourself. You’re going to suck it up, and you’re going to hit this person with the “Heeeey, Macarena” they didn’t know they needed to hear.
Be as emotionally vague as possible.
This person could be telling you about their cat’s awesome birthday party or explaining how their house was destroyed. You don’t know, but deadpanning, “Heeeey, Macarena,” is way better than admitting you haven’t been remotely present for this conversation. Keep in mind: your delivery shouldn’t be completely devoid of emotion—the feelings you’re going for here are “declarative” and “Macarena-ish.”
Do NOT do the dance.
Why would you do the Macarena in the middle of a conversation? Don’t be stupid.
If you follow all of the above steps perfectly, this person will have no clue you spaced out! Then you’ll be able to make the most out of this conversation by getting back to ignoring their blah-blah-blahs in peace.