Photographer: Bill Longshaw
One of my developing pet hates is people who talk too much. I’m talking about more than just a one-off chatty too-much-caffeine buzz. I’m talking about those people who you know can talk under water with a mouthful of rocks. It happens every time, and is enmeshed in their behaviour to the point that it is part of their character. I find it exhausting being with such people for more than 5 minutes.
These are the ones who dominate every conversation you have with them. The ones who pause after yammering for 45 minutes to ask how you are, but don’t shut up long enough to listen to the answer. The ones who cut you off from finishing sentences and inject their own stories, thoughts or commentaries. They might as well say, “I’m not interested in you at all. Your job is to listen to me!”
I know a couple of people like this and whenever I have to spend time with them I inwardly cringe. I don’t look forward to seeing these people because I know what it’s going to be like - exhausting and unfulfilling. Not a two-way conversation at all. They wear me out.
Why can’t they read the reactions of other people during conversation and respond appropriately? Have they never learnt? Or is this poor manners and bad behaviour? Is it a matter of breaking a bad habit? Or is there more of a ‘disorder’ happening? Do they know they’re doing it?
So what can I do to survive these encounters? Avoid them? Tell them? (Like they’ll listen!) Try and talk over the top of them? What?
Do you know anyone like this and what’s your strategy to get some people to shut the hell up? Give me your wisdom, because I sure as hell don’t know.