18

I'm writing a letter to someone and I want to describe the way a woman talked to me the whole night.

Every time I told her something, I got short answers which had zero thought put into them. Like "oh really?" or "That's nice."

So what would be a good word that I can use to describe putting no thought into something (such as the way one responds)?

  • 1
    Was she disinterested or did she just have nothing interesting to add? – shawnt00 May 26 '16 at 23:23
  • 5
    my guess would be "worried about the creepy stalker who won't take a hint and go away". – cas May 27 '16 at 4:29
  • 2
    Maybe she was elsewhere. You haven't given enough information to describe her behaviour, as we don't know why she behaved in this lacklustre way. Maybe she was preoccupied, maybe she was uninterested, maybe she was deliberately being rude, maybe simply tired, drunk or stupid. – P i May 27 '16 at 16:53
  • 1
    , <- you dropped this – nardnob May 27 '16 at 21:18
  • 1
    Downvoted because of lack of context. It's one thing if you were two strangers sitting next to each other on a long flight and another if you were both guests at a mutual friend's dinner party. – ab2 May 27 '16 at 21:34

18 Answers 18

48

The situation you're describing doesn't so much sound like she was putting no thought into her answers, as that she didn't want to have the conversation, and therefore was deliberately not engaging with the conversation, perhaps to send you a signal to stop talking to her.

This style of conversation would be described as dismissive

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dismissive

  • 5
    Aka: smile and nod your head. – Mazura May 26 '16 at 17:17
  • 2
    @Mazura that's the best advice I learned from my father for dealing with people to whom I don't want to listen. – galois May 28 '16 at 22:54
45

perfunctory

adjective

  1. performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial:
    perfunctory courtesy.

  2. lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic:
    In his lectures he reveals himself to be merely a perfunctory speaker.

[dictionary.com]

25

You could describe her as absent, and as responding absently.

M-W: (3) showing that a person is thinking about something else : showing a lack of attention to what is happening or being said.

15

I thought of curt, but I liked perfunctory and dismissive too - excellent suggestions.

curt /kərt/ (adjective)

rudely brief.

"his reply was curt"

synonyms: terse, brusque, abrupt, clipped, blunt, short, monosyllabic, summary;

14

The term to use somewhat depends on the state of the listener. If she was concentrating on something else, I would go with "Distracted". If not concentrating on something else, but also not concentrating on your comments or questions, I would think "Mindless" or "Disengaged". "Absentminded" would also fit in this case. Finally, if concentrating on your comments and questions, but finding them not worth her time to fully consider (for whatever reason), then "Dismissive" would fit.

  • 2
    +1 for disengaged. I definitely got the impression from the question that she was disengaged. – jaichele May 26 '16 at 19:42
  • 2
    I was thinking along these lines, and I would add preoccupied and inattentive to your list. – Scott May 27 '16 at 8:07
8

Disinterested, unengaged, and distracted all seem to describe this fairly well. Inconsiderate literally applies, too.

I also like thoughtless.

Since she wasn't thinking about the interaction, she clearly wasn't interested, invested, or engaged. Any terms along those lines, such as those above, apply.

  • 2
    Uninterested seems appropriate, but traditionally disinterested means unbiased rather than not interested. – ELW May 26 '16 at 22:43
  • 1
    The "no competeing interests" definition is neither more traditional, nor dramatically more common. It literally means both in current and historic use. (prescriptive advice, notwithstanding) oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/… – The Nate May 27 '16 at 7:28
  • 1
    Note, I'm not disagreeing that uninterested applies, nor that many would consider it superior, here; I'm only countering the "traditionally...means" which is inaccurate, albeit moderately so. That is the listed preferred sense according to OEDo and M-W but they both list both. – The Nate May 27 '16 at 7:55
8

OffhandODO

adjective Ungraciously or offensively nonchalant or cool in manner

"you were a bit offhand with her this afternoon"
"Whatever, I dismissed him in an offhanded manner.

adverb Without previous thought or consideration

"I can’t think of a better answer offhand"
"Lessig treats this opposing view rather offhandedly, a serious flaw in an otherwise excellent book"

4

I know this is kind of obvious but what about

thoughtless?

  • 5
    From my experience, this word has a connotation to selfishness. Might just be me, though. – user2962533 May 26 '16 at 12:41
  • 1
    This definitely answers the question in the title. – GalacticCowboy May 26 '16 at 16:04
  • Please explain your answer in full. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 8 '16 at 18:23
4

You could describe the woman (or her remarks) as vapid:

offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging.

"tuneful but vapid musical comedies"

synonyms: insipid, uninspired, colorless, uninteresting, feeble, flat, dull, boring, tedious, tired, unexciting, uninspiring, unimaginative, uninvolving, lifeless, tame, vacuous, bland, trite, jejune

2

From the posts above, I like perfunctory the best, but vacant could also apply. It has sort of a double meaning in that the person giving the reply is not there, and as a consequence the comments are also devoid of reflection.

Answering question strictly asked: No thought before answering could also be described as spontaneous or unfiltered, but those don't seem to fit the context.

2

If she seemed disinterested or bored, I would consider blasé:

Having or showing a lack of excitement or interest in something especially because it is very familiar
Merriam-Webster: Blasé

1

This would be called a "courtesy response." One or two word replies such that someone doesn't want to appear to be rude, but are not entirely interested in carrying a conversation.

0

How about "superficial"? This could explain both lack of engagement and knowledge.

Edit as per Sven's comment:

Merriam-Webster, for example, suggests three definitions of superficial that might apply: "lying on, not penetrating below, or affecting only the surface"; "concerned only with with the obvious or apparent: SHALLOW"; and "presenting only an appearance without substance or significance."

  • 1
    This is a good word suggestion, but if you imagine that the person who asked the question may not be entirely familiar with the word superficial in the relevant sense, you'll see why your answer would be better if you included a suitable dictionary definition as it applies to the poster's situation. Merriam-Webster, for example, suggests three definitions of superficial that might apply: "lying on, not penetrating below, or affecting only the surface"; "concerned only with with the obvious or apparent: SHALLOW"; and "presenting only an appearance without substance or significance." – Sven Yargs May 27 '16 at 1:04
  • This is the word she would use, not him. I would have used idgaf. – Mazura May 27 '16 at 1:14
0

I really like the aforementioned suggestion of inattentive.

For me, distant came to mind as well:

(of a person) not intimate; cool or reserved.

"his children found him strangely distant"

synonyms: aloof, reserved, remote, detached, unapproachable; withdrawn, reticent, taciturn, uncommunicative, undemonstrative, unforthcoming, unresponsive, unfriendly

I hope this helps!

0

Though it has connotations of meaning "without regard to someone's feelings", the word "thoughtless" is perfect here. Some will say this is old-fashioned, and because of today's usage, might be misinterpreted. I would contend that it is still the word of choice, despite any ignorance associated with it's meaning.

0

This might not be a perfect match for the situation you experienced, but, if the person were a bit more engaged in the conversation (i.e., hearing what you were saying, but not caring), you might call her attitude patronizing:

To treat in a condescending manner, often in showing interest or kindness that is insincere

0

I would say the best way to describe her actions were cavalier

cavalier

adj given to haughty disregard of others

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/cavalier

-2

impulsive

Acting without giving much thought.

doing things or tending to do things suddenly and without careful thought.

done suddenly and without planning : resulting from a sudden impulse.

protected by tchrist May 27 '16 at 21:54

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