Subtle Hints: Knowing When it’s Time to Shut Up

Talking people are tiresome.

We all talk; most of us, anyway. We must. But some people talk, and talk, and talk.

Those are the people we hide from at the grocery store.

How many hours have we spent needing to get away from someone who won’t take a breath? After the first minute, we become aware of an anxiousness to get back to our task which we already had limited time for. After the twentieth minute, we need to pee.

Some people live with the delusion that we care about their sister’s son’s horrible wife, or their cat’s bowel movements. We don’t.

One may be a good talker, but in order to be a good communicator one must pay attention to subtle clues from the listener, whom we’ll call Sam. If you notice any of the following behaviors, it may be time to conclude your conversation.

  1. Sam smiles and nods, yet her feet are shifted away from you and in the direction of her interrupted travel.
  2. Sam repeatedly looks at her watch.
  3. Sam has not responded with an actual word in forty-five minutes.
  4. Sam tells you for the fourth time that she needs to get her fifth grader, Little Sally Two Shoes, from school.
  5. The school calls Sam to inquire whether anyone is on their way to get Little Sally.
  6. Sam interrupts your medical history to say, “It was so great to see you, but I really must go.”
  7. Sam no longer has the tranquil, sweet look that Sam is known for.
  8. Sam begins to pull her hair and cry.
  9. Sam wets her pants.
  10. Sam dies.

There are no parts of this that are hyperbole. Sam has had customers, co-workers, family members, and total strangers who have failed to notice these subtle hints of disinterest in their one-sided conversation. And now, she is gone.

If we could all focus on our tasks and allow others to focus on theirs, realize that when someone asks how we are they only want to hear “fine,” and remember than no one wants details on any part of our life, we will all make the world more pleasant.

See also: Fort Worth Man Dies From Overly Talkative Co-worker

About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.


22 thoughts on “Subtle Hints: Knowing When it’s Time to Shut Up

  1. This is all super helpful stuff, I may get it printed on a T-shirt. Also, let me know if there’s a phone version of this!

    Posted by Shayne | February 12, 2020, 8:01 pm
  2. This is the danger of being a good listener. It could kill you.

    Posted by Tippy Gnu | February 12, 2020, 9:05 pm
  3. I’ll keep this short so I don’t get accused of anything.

    Posted by jim- | February 12, 2020, 11:30 pm
  4. Though I blog endlessly about absolutely nothing, in person …. I value silence over needless chatter. Keep your cat’s bowel movements to yourself and no! I do not want to watch the video of your sons birth.

    Posted by Rivergirl | February 13, 2020, 5:41 am
  5. Great points to keep in mind, although I’m the one that is usually cornered as the “listener” and I don’t try and be polite, I’m speaking purely here at work.

    So, lets say if Baby Kermit starts to talk to me, I just simply smile and walk away. Even in mid sentence, I have no patience let alone time to listen to her talk about absolutely nothing, lol.

    Posted by thehuntress915 | February 13, 2020, 9:08 am
  6. I snickered on this one! The whole reason God gave us one mouth and two ears… as the saying goes.

    Posted by Clever Girl | February 13, 2020, 4:33 pm
  7. Unless it’s my best friend (I’ll watch paint dry with her and have fun), this is 100% accurate! I have to admit I had to actively teach myself all of these cues, but now I pay a lot of attention to those whenever I’m with someone. I wish everyone took the same effort. I’d say anything past 5 minutes (or the time to say hello-how are ya-good, thanks-we should hang out-call me) is pushing it when the other person is running an errand, but I may be erring too much on the side of caution there… or not.

    Posted by Jay | February 21, 2020, 12:17 am

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