How do the Dutch deal with awkward silences?
How do you handle it?
The Dutch are very typical people with typical characteristics. We can't stand silences and certainly not awkward silences. But as with many problems, there is always someone on Tiktok who can see the humor in it.
A trend has developed of how we Dutch react to awkward silences, in the hope of making it less awkward. Whether this always works out remains to be seen. Do you recognize any of them?
This one is quite simple, you say it in the hope that someone will take over your lead and forget about the silence. But it can also be used when someone is late and finally arrives at their destination. The person who is waiting then says 'Hèhè ' with sometimes the addition of 'Could you find it?
This basically means "So", in the hope that someone will take your hint and start the conversation.
‘Wat een weertje he’
Translated to "what a weather huh". The Dutch can almost always talk about the weather, so in an awkward silence you can always bring it up. 100% chance that someone will join you in your conversation.
‘En toen was het stil’
This is perhaps one of the most uncomfortable statements. ‘And then it was quiet' highlights how uncomfortable the situation is and that somebody actually has to say something.
In some situations, Dutch people come up with the weirdest things just to break the silence:
‘Wat een gezelligheid weer’ (What a great atmosphere again)
That statement is not going to make it any more sociable all of a sudden.
‘Het is wat he’ (It's what huh?)
Then you might think, what is it? Nobody knows.
Which one is your favorite and will you use during the next uncomfortable silence?