OFFSTAGE: Taylor Swift on Surviving Awkward Silences

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

The guy advice Taylor Swift is doling out in the current Seventeen magazine is hardly meant for me. Because I have a guy, and I’m not 17 anymore. But, still, some of it makes so much sense, such as how to survive a super-awkward silence. Swift says to talk about other people but not in a gossipy way. “Look at strangers in the restaurant and guess who they are and what they’re talking about,” she advises. “My last resort is asking silly questions. Come up with funny ones, like your most embarrassing moments ever.” Some of it is very teen-specific, but the rest of it can apply to just about any relationship — how to be caring without seeming clingy, how to know when he is trouble and how to get out of the friend zone. “You can only hope you learn a lesson once in a while that prevents you from making the same mistake over and over,” Swift says of sharing her dating secrets. “Love is supposed to make you happy.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.