Keys for Relating to Non-Stop Talkers

Check Wiring Before Discarding

The resident clinician at challenges readers to be quick to listen, slow to speak and even slower to get angry when dealing with folk who talk all the time. McNair suggests mixing compassion with wisdom when we deal with people whose preferred learning style is 'thru the ears'.

3 Keys for Relating to Non-Stop Talkers

Whether they are 4 or 84, many genuinely wonderful people talk non-stop. Admittedly, non-stop talkers irritated me for a long time until I discovered what they were really up to. There are 2 kinds of non-stop talkers. The first I'll simply mention and promise to deal with in future writes and the second I'll focus on in this article. The first non-stop talker is called the controller. This person desires to dominate every conversation with a ‘my fish is bigger than yours' story or he or she will manufacture responses to questions, tell crude jokes or say just about anything to be heard. The root of this person's malady is deep and worthy of an article all its own. Check back later for that hot topic. For now, let's deal with non-stop talker #2 who I will affectionately refer to as Mr. or Mrs. Audio. One evening a close friend of mine who was going through marital difficulties invited me over to give her some wise advice. I arrived, we got comfortable, giggled a little and she began to share the specifics of her complaint. She talked and talked and talked for about 3 hours or so. My contribution to the conversation was a few scattered non-verbal "un hunh's and umh umh umh's ". When she finished she had tears in her eyes, she hugged me and thanked me over and over again. She said, "Thank you and thank God for you...I feel sooooooo much better."

The amazing thing was that when I coupled the events of that night with my knowledge of learning styles and specifically audio or auditory learners, a light clicked on in my head. Audio learners take in information thru their ear gates. If they consider themselves a reliable source of information, they will talk non-stop until they arrive at the solution to their own problem. As soon as they hear the solution they are usually done talking. For those of us who are connected to a Mr. or Mrs. Audio, it helps to know that the audio wiring works best when there is a live person in the room or on the telephone. While you may feel like you're being ignored or that you can't get a word in edgewise, know that your being there does make a difference.

Three keys will help you maintain fellowship or a good working relationship with Mr. or Mrs. Audio. First, be compassionate. How often do you get the opportunity to significantly contribute to someone's life by simply lending them your ear? Where children are concerned, you're actually validating their thinking process and making them feel important. Who knows the impact that could have on their future. At the other end of the age spectrum, many elderly people, especially those who are homebound, benefit greatly from a compassionate ear. One of the most influential seasons of my life was the 9 years I spent in the company of a group of East Palo Alto, California seniors I nicknamed the "Been There Done That Squad". Many of these seniors were over 80 years old and I was the literacy instructor one day a week. Some weeks I only got a word in occasionally, but I knew they needed the room to express themselves. They referred to that course as the highlight of their week. I witnessed many occasions when they would surface a complaint and keep talking until they drew out the solution from their own personal wells. James 1:16 in the Bible was my constant word of wisdom and has become one of the cornerstones of my teaching on communications. James wrote, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry". Wise advice I'd say.

The second key for dealing with Mr. or Mrs. Audio is to make a joyful noise. A joyful noise is the appropriate non-verbal listening sound for any given situation. Being there and zoning Mr. or Mrs. Audio out does not count. We have to listen so intently that our natural bodies and voices will evoke sounds that Mr. or Mrs. Audio will interpret as encouragement and consolation. When James spoke of being quick to listen, he meant being alive to listening. When we are alive to listening we take the time to catch the feel and flavor of what is being said. I liken this kind of listening to the experience of eating my good friend Pastor Jean's scrumptious fresh out the oven peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I don't just taste it; I savor every bite and I literally feel the light crust layers melt in my mouth as the peaches and cream caress my palate and then go their separate ways. When we are alive to listening, we catch the words, the tones, the nuances as well as the heart of the message. We are full of care about how we respond and do so joyfully. I've worked with a lot of folk over the years and I am convinced that a listening ear is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

The third and final key for effectively relating to Mr. or Mrs. Audio is to endure wisely. Endure means to bear up with patient tolerance. . Wisdom is the God-given insight on the matter and the God pleasing action that follows. We are kind and gentler people for enduring the auditory folk in our lives, but we have to be wise about how much time we give them and how often. We also have to speak the truth in love when they say things like "Am I talking too much? Or I need to shut up, don't I?" We can answer yes without maiming them. We can reassure them that we may not have the time to listen now, but the next time they can be assured our undivided attention. Secondary school statistics number this group of learners as about 10% of the population. That means that one in every 10 persons is a Mr. or Mrs. Audio. So, what are you going to do?

I am ever so grateful for the ones who've come my way and especially grateful for one non-stop talker in particular who refused to leave when I would not let her in my house one historic Monday night about 17 years ago. Instead she stood on my front porch and talked for hours until I heard and responded to the call of God on my life. But that's another story and you can find out all the juicy details at

Comments 18 comments

Donna McCraney 8 years ago

This is so true and most eloquently stated. I know I have been guilty of not engaging totally with the non-stop talkers and I have been a sporadic talker because frankly, I run out of things to think to say and do not want to repeat myself. This Godly perception was most enlightening and I feel a great lesson which I will share with others because now I will engage the non-stop talkers with a different perspective while ministering to their hearts about the goodness of the Lord. I truly enjoyed reading this and keep up the good work sister!

whitemo 8 years ago

Your article is great. Your nuggets of wisdom will truly help others. It's important to read the solution on how to handle non-stop talkers. I went through a situation recently with the 1st non-talker the controller I can't wait to read your nuggets of truth regarding those situations. I appreciate you sharing the knowledge you have all of us. Thank you for being you.

Tanya Knoblauch 8 years ago

This article was a very powerful one for me especially since I have had the pleasure of being a student of the author. Some days when I am struggling with something and can't seem to find the answer, God does for me what I can't do for myself and that is sending me this article to read and take in. I will pass this article along to others and I really appreciate the knowledge that you continue to pass along. The world is a better place because of you.

Sarah Keith 8 years ago

Excellent perspective! Thank you for your words of wisdom!

Rhonda 8 years ago

God's wisedom is a wonderful thing to have and upon reading this article it is certain you do! Continue to share this golden nuggets which brings wealth in a priceless way.

6 years ago

I need the other story - the one about personality type 1. that's someone i know and am sick of hearing!

Minty 6 years ago

Ah you want to hear more about the Controller do you. Well stay tuned.

6 years ago

Serious? This is the worst advice ever..

Bella 5 years ago

This advice just encourages a person who can't shut up to just keep talking...not good advice. Some people will not shut up..ever. They don't care if you have other things to do or a life to live; They will just keep talking because its not about you....its all about them and they don't care about you or your time. I won't be controlled like that....and anyway who want to just sit in a chair for hours on end...hours and hours and let someone talk at them??? It is abusive!

Glenmont 5 years ago

I'm going on a 3 week trip with a non-stop talker - if she's telling you someone completmented on her outfit, she has to tell you the whole conversation from the "Hi, how ya doing - and he said fine - how are you, etc" I'm ready to pull my hair out. I can't believe I agreed to go on a three week trip - I'm a low energy person and need quite time, a lot of it. It takes so much energy to continue to act interested when you're not.

Chava 5 years ago

I've seen this non-stop talking and what it has done to the rest of the family...i will continue in the next box to see if it will send just this much...

Karen 5 years ago

My mother is a non-stop talker. I can literally hold the telephone away from my ear and bring it back and say "uh-huh", or "hmmm" once every minute and she'll talk incessantly, not ever needing or wanting anything more from me than that. If I do make a comment, she'll ignore it, and go immediately back into her "agenda" as I see it.

The problem too is that she repeats every detail of EVERY encounter, and then goes into the long, long storehouse of information she has about that person, ad nauseum.

She is not demented, but I may be to endure this!! I'm her primary caregiver, she is somewhat lonesome, but lives in a retirement community apartment and has others around her. But I seen to be the targeted one for these long, long rampages.

I truly think I get picked as the victim because I allow it to continue. I feel sorry for her being 91, but at the same time, I come home exhausted, depleted, and angry most days I spend anytime with her.

I'm praying about how God wants me to respond to her and deal with this, and I will now start praying for anyone else who has to endure this abuse.

I would also comment that she does NOT respond well when I become firm with her, and tell her to not interrupt me...she becomes defensive and very rigidly ugly in her response back to me.

Teirrah McNair 5 years ago

Dear Karen: First I am thankful that you have the Lord in your life because He is and should be our role model for care giving. As I read your question I am also grateful for having spent close to ten years care giving for my Mom. My mother was not a non-stop talker but the challenges and the issues, especially emotional, of that season of my life were every bit non-stop.

From where I sit now, I know that God does not want us to be a doormat for anyone whether they are 91 or 19. In fact, He says in Deuteronomy 28:13 that if we hearken to His voice that we are the head and not the tail. I am wondering if you are asking the Lord specific questions like—should I visit mom today? What time, how long should I stay, what should I do when I get there???etc. I believe He wants that kind of involvement in our lives.

The other thing I discovered in my ten years of caretaking is that I had a lot of unresolved issues that I needed to deal with. Unforgiveness was at the top of the list and though it was pretty well buried, it pretty much ruled my relationship with my Mom until I was able to let it go. I also had some issues with my siblings and their lack of involvement in Mom’s care and I had to work through all of that. I would definitely check in with the Lord to see if there are any unresolved issues and if so allow Him to guide you into the truth you need to grasp to get over those issues. Don’t be afraid to ask for godly counsel from a Pastor or Christian counseling center and consider this season an opportunity for God to smooth out some rough edges in you.

My final suggestion is to reach out to caretaking support groups in your city or online. The task of caretaking for aging parents is best done with the backing of some folks who have been there , done that and moved on or with the backing of those who are presently caretaking and can share some tools that are working for them.

Be blessed and I pray that these tips work for you. Be sure also to read the post on The Controller

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mintymcnair 5 years ago from Hayward, California Author

Here's the link to the other story-- The Controller

mintymcnair profile image

mintymcnair 5 years ago from Hayward, California Author

Here's the link to the other story-- The Controller

mintymcnair profile image

mintymcnair 5 years ago from Hayward, California Author

Here's the link to the other story-- The Controller

I also replied to in the other hub space.

Gazelle 4 years ago

Silence often helps us hear Gods voice and feel His Presence, heartbeat, compassion and wisdom. When we surrender into quietness and open in His Presence, the outpouring of the Holy Spirits love flows into our hearts, filling us to overflowing with peace that quenches our thirst, satisfies our longings and quiets our anxious hearts. We talk compulsively to avoid our anxious feelings to strive to get filled up from another person, pulling on them to be our Source, rather than responsibly giving Gods love to ourselves so we are full and have love to share.

JD Passage 4 years ago

I love the whole "invited me over to give her some wise advice" part you wrote.

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