Three pots of coffee. (Really!) Too little sleep. (Again!) Running late, running ragged, running your mouth. It’s all very Lisa Rinna. (Did I really just say that?) Some days, you hear yourself babbling and blathering and you wish you would, you wish you could, you know you should… Just. Stop. Talking.
After the fact, you’re chiding yourself. You vow to detach mouth, side-step tongue, set your smile and apologize… briefly!
Sometimes, yours isn’t the mouth that’s rattling on, and you find yourself unable to get a word in edgewise. Maybe in a meeting, maybe on a date, maybe as your spouse vents for an hour about his lousy day…
So how do you interject? How do you get someone to make some space for a comment? If this isn’t an everyday occurrence, should you just let them babble away? What if chattering incessantly is undermining the relationship?
One very dear, very old friend loves to run on when we chat. All I have to do is say “how’s it going” and… she’s off to the races! For a good 20 or 30 minutes, it’s all I can do to interject an acknowledgment. An intermittent uh-huh, oh really, no kidding, go figure…
There are days when it seems less than respectful. There are other days when I am amused. And more often than not, I tune it out. None of these is ideal communication between friends.
Broaching the subject gently, or as gently as possible? Or interrupting, at times abruptly, when I really have something to say? Yes, I try. What follows is an improvement for a short period of time, and within a few weeks, a return to the previous style of conversation.
And if the problem is yours? And you’re struggling to do better?
Make yourself signs. HUGE signs. Posters! Post-its! Use pens, pencils, permanent markers. Write: Stop talking. Take turns. Take a breath! Listen carefully.
Eventually (you hope), you’ll reap the benefits.
Just. Stop. Talking.
Look. Sometimes, we’re under stress. We’re angry, we’re hurt, we’re anxious… we’re trying to stay awake! So we run our mouths.
Sometimes, our talking can be calming to someone else; we’re working our words to comfort someone who is stressed, who needs distraction, or who is himself uncomfortable talking.
On an exceptional basis, all of us can monopolize air time on the phone, Skype, or our conversational devices. Personally, I find it’s easier to read the signs of overdoing it when you’re sharing space, though certainly, plenty of people are oblivious even face-to-face.
But All Talk All The Time??? Don’t you find it drives you crazy?
When I do it and I can’t seem to stop?
That’s a clue that I need to eat, sleep, or see people (!!!)… and one of those three options will manage my motoring mouth.
Does this happen to you? Can you feel yourself running on? Do you have a friend, a spouse, a parent, a co-worker… who does this so much you just can’t bear it?
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