5

Context

I believe many people got into a situation where they were the only ones laughing in a large group. People usually start staring at the person, making the situation more awkward.

Question

How to avoid interruption of conversation, lecture, or some other verbal communication in cases where my laughing looked awkward?

More context

This usually happens when I am among my groupmates in university. The last time it happened others started laughing too, probably because of me. Then people pretended that nothing happened, though there was still a moment of awkwardness.

What concerns me is the fact that I interrupted the conversation. I don't mind being stared at.

  • Are you sure that you need to tag each one of your questions with Kazakhstan? This question, in particular, is not at all specific to Kazakhstan or Kazakh culture. – default locale Oct 15 '17 at 16:09
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    @defaultlocale, well, I expected some other Kazakhs to show up, so they could tell about their experience. Since they didn't, I'll remove it. – Incomputable Oct 15 '17 at 16:10
6

Pretend like nothing happened.

This will be awkward. No escaping that. I remember having laughed out a little too loud in school and caused everyone to stare at me, on many separate occasions. I was probably talking to my friends in the adjacent seats.

I have then quickly tried to pretend as if nothing happened. Then the teacher would either continue the class or would ask me to get up and she'd be like "what's so funny? share it with the class, so we can all laugh!".

In essence, I'd suggest pretending nothing happened. That's the quickest solution. Any effort to explain why you laughed would stall the original conversation from continuing its course.

3

Once you've drawn attention to yourself, you could also

  1. Stop laughing as soon as you can
  2. Say "Sorry." and then something like "Please go on." or "Please, ignore me."
  3. Depending on cultural background, you may also make appropriate gestures (unless they are misleading).

I agree with NVZ about pretending that nothing happened, but under some circumstances, e. g. when everyone stopped talking and is looking at you, this is another way to make them go on.

You apologize for the interruption, you do not say much (no long explanation or anything) so it takes just 2 or 3 seconds. That way you also signal, that there is nothing further coming from you - once you laugh, people may expect something from you (pointing out something funny or the like) and these expectations are then quenched immediately.

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    I used to know a guy who'd do this occasionally (turns out he was thinking about something else). He'd just flap a hand at us and say "Carry on, carry on!" It worked out pretty well. Though nosy git that I am, I'd typically look him up later and see what was so funny... – akaioi Oct 14 '17 at 16:44

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