When someone makes an off the cuff remark, joke, or observation to me, I sometimes just laugh and nod along. I realized this silence might be kind of weird. I typically don't respond because I don't have anything clever to say back, so sometimes I'll just say "That's pretty funny". Most often though, I don't say anything back. Is this weird? How can I respond in a productive way?

For example, as I was leaving my apartment for work, I bumped into my neighbor who had been walking her dog. Her dog started excitedly sniffing me, and she made a comment along the lines of "Wow, she really likes you!" I just made eye contact with her, laughed and smiled along with her, and maybe said "oh" in a surprised manner, before I continued out the building. I feel like this is really weird of me, but I kind of freeze when these things happen.

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    I'm not sure how we can answer this. It seems really subjective to ask "is this thing that I do weird"... at the very least it may be quite culturally different - so where you're from may make a big difference. Can you edit this question to ask a less subjective one? – Catija Oct 18 '17 at 3:04
  • "Is this weird?" is an opinion based question. I think there's a good question hidden somewhere in there (How can I respond to X? is a good thing to ask here). But right now, this will need some editing and a culture tag to make it more appropriate for the site and to get you some good answers. – Tinkeringbell Oct 18 '17 at 9:59

TL;DR -- You're okay!

I don't think your response is weird. It's a common pattern. This part:

I just made eye contact with her, laughed and smiled along with her, and maybe said "oh" in a surprised manner, before I continued out the building.

Is a perfectly adequate response. The key point here is that you're not obliged to come up with snappy banter on the spot. It's okay. This is the reason why we have phrases like "Hey that's a good one" or "Oh, you're a corker, you".

Really, all that people want is some acknowledgement that something just happened. A murmured phrase, even a smile will do.

Personally, I do get into the badinage, but that's me. Even so, sometimes I'm caught flat-footed or out-punned or whatever. Which will get my partner a wry, "You. I like you."


Yep, you're okay.

I don't always get the quick response to such situations either. I laugh, or simply acknowledge that was good/funny in some way.

Sometimes I get a clever comeback, but it's after I leave the area, but (shrug), it's not worth going back to give that response.

You acknowledged their comments, and that's enough.


My diagnosis is that you are suffering from something called the human condition. And the prognosis is not good and inevitable.

No, you are not weird, just human. If you search the term "What I should have said" on the internet for instance, you'll notice that you are not alone in your dilemma. People are making memes, songs and writing books on the subject.

Your response is perfectly fine and normal; laughter is the desired effect from telling a joke.

What would be weird is if you kicked the dog or ignored your neighbor altogether.

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