I noticed recently that I say ‘err’ or ‘umm’ a lot when asked a question, particularly for questions that aren't factual in nature, and have no right or wrong answer. For instance, if I were asked “what is the capital of Turkmenistan” I would answer “Ashgabat” (which everyone knows) without any umming or erring. But if I were asked “would you like milk in your Americano?” I would answer “err… yes”.
This is a pretty mundane thing; everyone does it to some extent, as a way of buying time while considering the options, but I do it even when I know the answer before-hand. I always take milk in my Americano. It's not like I am weighing up the pros and cons of milk before I respond – in fact, I know the answer before I have even opened my mouth to say ‘err…’!
I imagine there is some psychological phenomena at play here (post a comment if you know of a term for it), but the more I noticed it, the more it irritated me. Did I sound like some dim-wit who was too slow to recall how I like my coffee without careful consideration?
Hopefully not, but I'm big on introspection and changing habits that don't benefit, so I decided just to stop doing it. And what do you know, it worked! All I had to do was consciously suppress the ‘err’ before it had a chance to escape from my mouth. Now, when asked if I would like a splash of milk in my Americano I confidently respond “Yes.”, as if I were just asked if the atomic number of Praseodymium is 55 (it is).