Awkwardness during long pauses in conversations. This phenomenon, such a common one in many Western cultures, is not at all universal. In Japan, for instance, long pauses indicate respect for the speaker. Native Australian tribes, as well as some Finns, also are more than comfortable with long pauses in conversations. Those who are awkward during long conversational pauses, say psychologists, exhibit the behavior because they are worried about how their conversation will be received by the other person.