A question for the ladies of the board.

I’ve discussed this with my male friends, and they all seem to agree. Now I bring this to you, the ladies of the dope, because I know you’ll give me a calm, calculated answer without wanting to rip my testicles off.

The question is this: Out of all the women I’ve ever talked to in a romantic sense (either on a date, or on the phone leading up to dating, or in email), about 90% of them spent the entire conversation talking about themselves. After a while, I’ll sometimes try to politely insert myself into the discussion, pretty much always to no avail. Two examples follow.

Case #1: I spent about two hours on the phone with this girl last week. She said I could ask her anything I wanted to; she has nothing to hide. About an hour-and-a-half in, I politely waited for her to catch her breath so I could finally say something.

Me (in a semi-joking tone): Well, now that I’ve given you my barrage of 20 Questions [I really didn’t ask her anything.], what would you like to know about me?
Her: Oh, I don’t ask questions. So anyway, as I was saying…

Case #2: Last night, I was talking to this wonderful woman I knew from work a few years back (we had stayed in touch, but one of us always had an SO until now). She would talk about her family, her pets, her car, her life, etc. I was very interested in hearing about her, but she never once asked about me. I would relate her points to my own life (“Funny, my cat does the exact same thing!”) but all I’d get is a “Huh” or “Hehe” and she’d turn the conversation back onto herself.

Ladies, why do you do this? Is it an effort to hide nervousness? Is it narcissism? What gives?

Well, they do sound abnormally self-centered. Your post resonated with me, however, because I fear that I might do this myself in conversations and have been working to remedy it. I was raised not to be nebby - don’t ask questions because other people’s lives are none of your business. In most conversations I will volunteer information as the conversation flows without being specifically asked. I’ve noticed that not everyone is as ready to bring things up. Those conversations get lopsided unless I ask questions to try to draw the other person out a bit.

The thing that gets me is your case #2 - if I were talking to you and you volunteered something about your cat, I’d use that as a jumping off point to find out more about your pets, if you only have the one cat, if you like dogs, etc.

In short, I don’t think they’re doing it intentionally. It could also be nerves - I blather when nervous.

However, for every story you and your friends have about women like that, I bet women have a story about the guy they went out with that barely said three words through dinner with whom having a conversation was like pulling teeth. (not saying that you’re one of them)

Bad dates.

I mean, yes, there’s a certain nervousness on going out the first time with someone, and nervousness causes me to talk. A lot. About anything. But there is usually a conversation in there, and I’m usually so relieved when the guy starts taking part in the conversation, I shut up for a little while.

It’s one thing to share your thoughts on a subject or tell a story or two. It’s another to completely dominate the conversation and ignore what your date has to say. That’s not a female problem. It’s a human problem.

Bad dates.

I read something recently. Might have been here, might not. It was something like, “Before you accept a date, consider whether or not you’re likely to enjoy it. Too many times, we’re focused on whether or not the other person will enjoy our company, and not if we’ll enjoy theirs.”

I think this is an excellent example of this phenomenon. In my experience, I’m usually so nervous and worried about being witty and interesting and keeping the conversation going that I turn into a babbling idiot, or I clam up entirely. Those times when I can instead relax and focus on having a good time instead of making a good impression, the conversation flows much more evenly, and it’s a much more enjoyable evening.

If I had to make any sort of gender bias guess, I’d say that women, in general, are more accustomed to making a connection through language, and men, in general, through shared, often silent, experiences. I’m thinking here of women socializing over lunch or coffee, talking, vs. men having fun silently fishing or watching the game together. Stereotypes, to be sure, but there it is.

I’m much the same way (combined with being an introvert and a bit shy, well I’m more likely to clam up…). If I notice myself babbling I try to change the subject towards the other person, sometimes it doesn’t work though because they’d rather listen to you babble instead of make actual conversation.

Women who do that are really annoying. So are men who do that.

Women do talk more than men, statistically speaking, but for someone to say something like, 'I don’t ask questions" sounds like an entitled princess who is used to treating men badly and getting away with it. Even with women talking more than men, there should still be give-and-take in the conversation, not women just expounding non-stop on how wonderful they are.

If I may be so blunt, you need to talk to a better class of women. :slight_smile:

I like Whynot’s theory about possible differences in communication styles.

The 2nd example in the OP made me wonder if the woman in question was expecting you to be more assertive about your cat, your family, etc. I’m not really sure if this is a gender difference or some other sort of difference (regional, cultural, whatever), but it feels somewhat familiar to me in that in my family, your level of assertiveness is what indicates your level of interest in talking about your cat. If you were wanting to talk about your cat, you wouldn’t stop with “my cat does the same thing,” you’d keep pressing with “and then he does this OTHER thing …” and my responses would be along the lines of “oh?” and “hehe” to show that I was interested in hearing more about your clever kitty.

My natural “pause meter” is also pretty short. If you pause for a very short time, I will assume you plan to keep talking. If you pause for a longer time, I think that means you want it to be my turn to talk now. If I pause for a time, and you don’t jump in right away, that probably means (in my head) that I misjudged your intent to talk and therefore you are expecting me to talk some more. However, it’s possible that you might be thinking “ah, it’s my turn to talk now … I shall now gather my thoughts, and … oh wait, she’s talking again.”

Obviously, I’m not saying all these things in my head word for word, but you know what I mean. I’m not (hopefully) completely socially clueless so I do try to be aware and adjust accordingly when I’m speaking with someone who seems to have a different conversation style and pace of pauses … it’s just that when I’m with other people who share my own conversational style, it feels much more natural and I never have to think about it at all.

Could be nervousness, sure, though I’ve also known women who just plain talk too much. Personally, I tend to deflect conversation from talk about myself back to the guy I’m out with, because I’ve always felt awkward talking about myself beyond superficial stuff (favorite movies, that sort of thing). Guess I’m afraid I’ll bore people with my nerdiness.

I tend to be pretty quiet in general, unless a) I already know you pretty well and feel comfortable yakking about this n that, or b) I’m faced with someone who seems to be very shy. In the latter case, I feel almost obliged to keep the conversation rolling, and act more gregarious than I would normally be to help make the other person feel more comfortable. If it turns out that they are simply reserved, then I don’t feel any particular compulsion to foist a conversation on them.

As a guy, I’m inclined to be deferential in conversation, asking questions that will keep the momentum of the discussion moving, but I’ve rarely ever been in a romantic-type scenario where I couldn’t get a word in edgewise or at least felt my side was disproportionately represented.

I think the OP is simply asking out the wrong kind of women.

twickster was close… :wink:

I think the women were nervous and trying to hide it with conversation. In my experience, those are typically the kind of women who like the strong, self-confident type of man. Next time, try this:

When the lady won’t stop talking, hold up your hand and say “Stop!” in a firm and commanding voice. When you’ve got her attention, say “Where I was raised, the man talked and the woman listened. Please remember this. When you have something to say, you ask.”

Then start talking about yourself.

Funnily enough, IME, women who say “Oh God, I’ve been babbling on and on!” tend to be the quiet types. You will never hear a babbler say that.

Well, I can understand that, but what is the right kind of woman in this case?

Isn’t your advice a bit… erm… colonial, Arnold?

Was this just happening on first dates, or did it continue? On a first date, you could chalk it up to nervousness maybe, but after that it sounds like something worse.

It could be that these women aren’t particularly interested in the kind of men they date, they just see them as a meal ticket, steady supply of sex, or something similar. People who are genuinely interested in learning about the other person will ask questions, about movies or books they like, where they were raised, what they do for a living, whatever. I’ve known several girls who are so afraid of being alone they’ll date anyone who’s single and reasonably attractive.

As for nervousness, I’m not sure how it is for generally friendly people, but as a shy person, when I’m nervous I’ll ask questions about anything just to keep the other person talking so I don’t have to. Someone who’s normally gregarious might just babble non-stop, but like I said, if the behavior continues after a first date, I’d say these aren’t women you should be dating.

Yeah, I think that will work great. Report back on the results. :smiley:

You must be one of them progressive types. Where I’m from, we just use a head butt as the signal.

I think it’s excellent advice. In fact, I’ll try it tonight with total strangers. In order to look manly and resolute, I’ll first work myself into a rage so I can get that forehead vein a-poppin’.

I am so getting laid!

High maintenance self-centered princesses, who are likely to order the most expensive thing off the menu.

Don’t waste your time.

Works with all types. I have used it with success in biker bars when the bartender can’t hear your order because the bearded guy next to you is laughing too loud with his buddies. Just change the wording around a little. “Where I come from, when a guy orders a drink, the rest of the people at the bar shut up until he’s done talking.”