Something which girlfriends ask. Generally asked 1/3 of a second before the end of a nice long comfortable silence. This usually presages a long uncomfortable silence, or worse, lack thereof. It is never possible to honestly answer such a question, since whatever thought you had is irretrevably replaced by "God DAMN I hate it when she asks me that!" If this occurs on a first date it is wise not to have a second. This is a minor and easily surmountable form of The Trap.

See also: Does this dress make me look fat?

Hey, boys are not immune to this particular evil.

There was a nice boy named Spencer who asked me this very question...and varied it thus: "What's spinning around in that head of yours?"

We were slow dancing to "Unchained Melody," of all things. Had I the hots for him, and had he said it a little bit more quietly, it would have been kinda sexy.

But I still wouldn't have answered the question.

I can't be the only person to have asked this question out of genuine curiosity. In fact, thinking back I may have asked it several times, each time simply wondering what the other person was thinking.

The last time I asked it, I got a genuine response, and it sparked off a small but not insignificant conversation. I really don't think it was viewed by the girl in question as an attempt to antagonize. At least, I hope it wasn't.

Similarly, whenever I'm asked this question, I try to answer it. Since most of us are thinking about several things at once, all the time, it shouldn't be too hard to pick the thought stream that's the least incriminating/boring/nonsensical and offer a thoughtful or, failing that, witty response. "I was wondering what those ceiling tiles are made of," however, is probably not as inspired as you might think.

Of course, I respect an answer indicating that the owner's thoughts are private, and will remain that way. This can even be construed as cute, or sexy... depending on when/where the question was asked.

I often wonder at the amount of psychological maneuvering that goes on in most relationships, budding and established alike. It can't be healthy to analyze minutely every single sentence, looking for a catch or ulterior motive. Most people would agree that confident, relaxed people who seem comfortable with themselves and their surroundings are the most attractive ones. So what do you think it does for your image if you freeze and make warding gestures every time somebody asks you what you're thinking?

I don't deny that sometimes, this question is a trap. And it's important to recognize these instances and deal with them accordingly. You can be relaxed and genuine without being naïve.

I hope that this stands as the definitive answer on how to avoid the question "What are you thinking about?", since all of you clearly want to avoid the question. In this writeup, I postulate that the correct course of action is to avoid the question. I believe that this tables the matter of how to avoid the question "What are you thinking about?" from now until the end of time.

Thesis: The only way to achieve your objective is avoid the question and not to make up some bullshit and pretend that you are saying what is on your mind.

Explication: "What are you thinking about?" is a loaded question. Rarely is it asked by someone who has a blank mind. Instead, it is asked by someone who has something in mind and wants, without revealing any information, to find out your thoughts about the matter (of if, for that matter, the matter is on your mind).

Why do the other noders propose offering a reply with downcast eyes? Moreover, why try to appear like you are giving a straight answer if you are not really giving a straight answer? Instead, be upfront that you are just as well-versed in such games: give an response that is obviously coy.

Example:

Q: What are you thinking about?

A: [intensely] Doritos! [pause, followed by a big smile]

The above conversation is translated by the sub-conscious thusly:

Q: What are your thoughts on "the matter"? Further, which "matter" am I talking about?

A: I am prepared to be just as mysterious as you. That is my response on the matter.


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