Once in a while I find myself saying, “what?” or, “huh?” or even, “what did you say?” when I am asked a question despite knowing exactly what you said. Most of the people repeat the question and I just answer it the second time around. Then a few days ago one of my friend didn’t repeat the question and just waited a few seconds and I was able to correctly answer the question right after I had asked, “what?” for no reason.
When did this habit of mine start?
It is more common for me to do this when the person asking the question doesn’t use an attention grabber like “hey!”, “Ella?”, “excuse me?”, “can I ask you something?”. My mind is always wandering somewhere else and I am sometimes not prepared to answer the question so I buy time to think of the answer for the question that I have already heard. I ask a question instead of saying something foolish and slow like, “I’m thinking deeply about what you said so give me a second” or “wait a minute, I’ve got to construct my sentence.”
I also tend to do this in two different situations when talking to my boyfriend. When I hear something really good or something really bad. If it is something really good I just want to hear it again. I know it is a little selfish, but if my boyfriend says something really sweet, I just want him to repeat just to have my heart melt twice. If it is something bad, I sometimes say “what?” just so he can rethink what he said…
I have noticed many people do this, some even say things like: Hmmm…like…well…you know…let’s see. However, some people do it out of habit.
After a little bit of research online, I learned that those words are called “filler speech” and people who use a lot of “filler speech” actually tend to be more conscientious. They take longer to say what they want to say, because they want to make sure that they say the right thing.