Do You Talk Too Much?
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Talk is Cheap
We all get trapped with a talker every now and then. A few minutes into their ramble you start plotting your escape, how do I get out of this? Wait what are they even saying? As a professional people-watcher, I especially enjoy spotting strangers out and about, cornered listening to the nonstop ramble of their company. Their eyes might be glazed over, their attention wondering, but still, the talker keeps talking.
Don’t get me wrong; I cherish many talkers in my life! All of which are actually aware they talk far too much. So why don’t they stop?
We all do something that irritates others, perhaps we tend to run late, or we can be forgetful when it comes to birthdays. “That’s just the way I am…” We justify our bad behavior as one quirk among many great traits. But what if that one quirk is the thing holding you back in life? And perhaps you don’t even know it!
The psychological community has already devised a label for those that talk too much. They link the disorder to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Anything labeled is usually stigmatized, meaning talking too much is not a good thing. Still… the gabbing continues.
Reasons People Talk Too Much
As with any ‘disorder’ there are logical reasons behind the actions. No two people are the same; everyone has their own reasons for talking too much or too little. While some point to iffy labels like narcissism to explain the ‘me, me, me,’ gabber, as a sociologist I look to our social world for other, less accusing, answers.
Insecurity. Some might see this as a contradiction but insecurity and shyness are very different emotions. The insecure individual feels the need to prove themselves as worthy. By talking about their life, their projects, and their great friendships, they are reassuring themselves and others of their worth. The problem with this route of action is actions speak way louder than words. If you’d like to impress someone, show them- don’t tell!
A common excuse for excessive talkers who routinely cut others off is, “But I already know what everyone is going to say!” No matter how sure ones’ mind-reading skills may be, they might be surprised at the valuable insights others have to offer, ones they never saw coming.
When talking endlessly about yourself, you’re bound to get nods of approval and words of praise- that’s the natural response, the one we are trained to give. Consequently, talkers are receiving a lot of attention for their pesky peeve. Even if others are secretly annoyed, the talker is clueless because they are receiving positive reinforcement.
But it’s not all positive for a talker, who many steer away from in fear of becoming caged by endless words. This blocks talkers off from certain chances; perhaps what one has been looking for is right under their nose, they just can’t hear if they don’t stop talking.
Employers don’t like hiring people who talk too much either. And even worse, family members don’t like to hear the same relative gab endlessly at every function. This is how many talkers become isolated and unemployed, often unsure what has even happened.
Listeners are not always sympathetic to talkers, being cut off after everything you say can get old rather quick. In fact, it starts to feel extremely rude and exahsting. The talkative may not intentionally be doing it, but they are sending the signal they don’t care what others have to say. People will start to get the impression that what they say doesn’t really matter and it's no fun hanging with someone you feel voiceless around.
Keeping Chatter In-Check!
We all talk too much sometimes. It’s a side effect of nervousness and excitement, the sign of a good date or a proud parent and then sometimes the chatter comes out of nowhere for no seeable reason. So how do we make sure our moments of chatter don’t go overboard?
- Keep track of your next few conversations, who begins the conversation and who ends it? Who spent the majority of the time talking?
- Set goals; if you are a talker start regulating what you say. Only mention what you feel is most important and of interest to whomever you are speaking with. It can be hard to quit over-chatting so start small. I guarantee people will instantly notice and appreciate the difference.
- Remember, not everyone is interested in the same things as you. Be sensitive to this when talking to others. While a documentary on George Washington might appeal to some, it puts others to sleep, especially when re-told.
- For every “I…” statement ask a question. People like when you show interest in their life and don’t just accept the routine answers like, “good.” Get your friends and family really talking about themselves, listening might feel better than you think.
People-pleasers like myself are the perfect motivators for those who talk endlessly. I will remember everything you tell me and by nature I will regurgitate this into a question in the future. I’ve learned, in many instances, I can no longer do this unless I have extra hours to spare. And…I don’t. It’s not that I don’t want to hear the stories a talker has to share, I just want to hear the summarized version please!
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