I glanced out our kitchen window a week ago Saturday and froze. A van with two people in the front.
For a second, I wondered if it were Jehovah’s Witnesses making a call , then I recognized who was in the van.
A friend was playing taxi for someone I refuse to get sucked into a conversation with at this point in my life. Friend wanted me to come out to just say “Hi.”
At the risk of you thinking less of me I’ll tell you what happened next…
I was in the middle of doing an estimate and refused to comply. Told my wife I was not going outside.
Wife went out. That was her choice. 😉
I’ve made that mistake three times.
The first time was understandable.
The second and third times, I had given him the benefit of doubt, thinking maybe I had misjudged him.
Not any more.
He talks non-stop about anything and everything. Mindless flittering from one topic to the next. If you let him, he will suck the life force right out of you.
I’m joking, but not really.
(It was at least 40 minutes later before the wife was back)
As I thought about that recent encounter, I spent several minutes last night looking for tips on how to handle a compulsive talker in a nice way. There is not a lot of good information.
I did come across this article by Charles Shahar
Here’s a portion of it:
“A comfortable conversation has a certain flow. Both parties are focused on each other. There is an active give-and-take. This dynamic exchange brings pleasure to the participants. They are energized by the experience. When they leave, they will seem livelier than before the conversation. They may look back at the encounter with fondness, and will respond favorably to the other person when they meet them again.
A conversation with a compulsively talkative person has a different flow. All of the attention is aimed in one direction: you are doing the listening, they are doing the talking. They seem to have an infinite capacity for spouting forth words. You will find that you are getting tired, your body is sagging, you feel restless, or you feel tightness in the pit of your stomach. They are draining your energy. You are doling out tons of attention, you are working hard for them, and they are reveling in the limelight. This is what they live for.
...you are conversing with a human leech…. When the conversation is over you will feel depleted, spent. They took your juice. It may take hours to recover it….
Compulsive talking is an indication that you are dealing with a neurotically needy person. The reason they speak obsessively is to hold your attention. They are desperate to this end, and fear that if they stop talking, you will lose interest and leave. They rely on your sense of courtesy, on your desire not to appear offensive by interrupting or cutting them off. In fact, they will take advantage of someone who lets them continue unabated.
Needy people will tell you all about their problems. They will spare no details. They don’t care whether you are interested or not. In fact, they are completely insensitive to your feelings or desires. The important thing for them is the juice– your attention. It is like a drug for them.
They are addicted to your attention. ….. When you start to cut off the juice, they get anxious….
A device needy people use to get attention is to tell long-winded stories. These are a perfect foil because people have to listen for their duration. The needy person will embellish his story, use long-winding sentences, go off on tangents, and focus on details — all with the aim of trapping the attention of his audience. The stories themselves are often boring and indulgent….”
So dear reader, do you have any tips?
My default response has been to avoid these situations as much as possible now.
The inner poverty that fuels that sort of behavior is not a simple fix.
I can’t for the life of me imagine Jesus sitting there listening to someone ramble on and on, but to come right out and address it, seems so tacky and unkind.