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