I trust you’ve been there before…
You are enjoying a casual conversation with a friend and then, out of nowhere, they ask a question you aren’t prepared for. The conversation changes in an instant; from light and casual to deep and insightful. This question might be deep and probing, it might be a new way of considering a problem, it might even be clarifying a potential insult to reveal your true intention. But one thing is certain, you need time to think.
Time to fully construct your thoughts and give an apt reply. To maintain your reserve yet explain yourself fully.
You feel the oppressive silence. You begin to panic. Your mind is reeling and it is difficult to think. Don’t say anything foolish! But you have to say something, do they think you are ignoring them?
Perhaps, reader, you do not struggle with oppressive silences but I’d guess that most people do. From my own experience, I will generally do one of two things. I will either begin to babble with limited control; saying anything while I try to construct my thoughts. Or I will fix my gaze somewhere, generally the floor, and make “thinking sounds.” These guttural grunts don’t actually help me process they just signify that I heard you and I am processing. While not destructive by any means I would put forward that neither of these responses are ideal.
And this my friends is where your tobacco of choice can save the moment!
The wonderful thing about smoking during deep conversations is that the tobacco offers a slight distraction. This distraction is not overwhelming. It doesn’t destroy the conversation but allows for a thoughtful repose. I have come up with five ways that this slight distraction can benefit a thought-provoking conversation with friends.
Embers of both cigars and pipes need to be tended in order to achieve maximal enjoyment. Inspecting your ember gives that moment you need to collect your thoughts, steady yourself for a challenging response, or simply to take in the moment.
Body language is critically important to communication. Often times, like Mr. Bobby, I don’t know what to do with my hands. At first, I don’t think about it. Then I get self-conscious thinking I look like I am trying to conduct a symphony rather than a peaceful conversation. Tobacco wins out here as well. Whether tending to your smoke or simply giving you something to toy with; you always have something to do with you hands.
You know something that makes me uncomfortable? When someone asks a probing question and stares at me while I gather my thoughts; their eyes boring holes into my very soul as I squirm for the right words to say. Tobacco presents a beautiful answer if you are the one asking the questions. Break eye contact, inspect your ember, or reflect on the beauty of your pipe. This brief moment of privacy will encourage the conversation to new depths!
For those of you out there who are babblers like me, talk about your smoke instead of whatever comes to mind at random. This can be dangerous as you do not want to dog the rabbit trail down fully. Simply use this as method to “keep the heat off” while you collect your thoughts and then circle back to the question saying something like, “oh and to answer your question…”
I have never met a person who has too much time and nothing to do with it. Slowing down for a nice chat, while necessary, can present problems if there is no end to that time. We have all been there, that guy who just won’t leave regardless of social cues; I’ve actually been that person on multiple occasions. Tobacco to the rescue! Fine tobacco allows you to rest fully in the time you have with it, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. Once your stick or bowl is cashed, call it a night. Don’t linger too long or you run the risk of tarnishing that relationship.
Deep, thought-provoking conversations are difficult. It is a peculiar thing in this day and age for men to gather around each other and talk about the real stuff of life. Conversations like this, however are a staple in the life of the Modern Gentlemen.
Please reader, don’t blanch under the supposed weight of a challenging conversation. Engage in the moment, relax with your favorite smoke, and a good friend.
Esteemed gentlemen, if you need a moment, I encourage you to find solace in the confines of the gently glowing cherry of your favorite tobacco.