How do you deal with ridiculously verbose people?

I unfortunately have a mental illness…

When someone blathers into my ear for 20 plus minutes about their latest athletic accomplishment or hypochondratic organ, my head begins to hurt and my brain begins to shut down. (These aren’t the only subjects perpetrating the symptoms but they do seem to be quite populat with the tact-challenged.) This is preceeded by a very pissed off look in my eyes as well as a great bit of fidgeting and excuse making about where I need to be or what I’ve got to do.

And yet their story continues. Ad nauseum. Ad pukem. Ad violent shaking and rigorous convulsing. Ad ear sweat.

This talent is rare in most humans but some most decidedly have the gift…

  • the gift to make me retch with their spoken word.
  • the gift to incapacitate my sensory organs.
  • the gift to impact my throat with bile to the point I’m damn near on my knees begging them to stop.

What the hell? Why why why must they feign ignorance of my condition and continue with their perverse torture?

Don’t get me wrong. I absolute adore 99% of the population and revel in most stories and banter. But there’s always one neighbore or cow-orker that’s hell-bent of trying my patience.

I don’t give a flying f about evey single incident that happened to them and every one of their obsessed cronied during every bike ride they went on in the month of April. Why would he even think that would be of any interest to me? We shared bike stories once when we first met and that gives him the right to expound every damn time we’ve talked for the last four years about that hopelessly mundane sliver of his existance? Jeez buddy, don’t you have something else to share, like about your wife, your pending childbirth, your yard, your job, your big toe? Anything please except more about your gd bike.

I really don’t mean to sound insensitive. I honestly don’t consider myself that way at all. I love people, it’s just that I don’t deal with “yak” very well at all. Brag a little. Share a little. Let’s exchance experiences and tales that are entertaining or that we each might be able to benefit from. But throw at me an outline for stupification and then go into chapter and verse and he or she’s going to effing piss me off.

Obviously, this just happened. I’ll be better, I’ve just got to vent a bit because this verbal diuretic just gave me a blistering headache. To anybody I’ve ever done this to, I’m so very very very sorry. I obviously wasn’t thinking.

So my problem and question is this… my wife says she can see it in my eyes when someone’s yaking has supersaturated my finite braintolerance. How do you politely, or at least tactfully, deal with the verbally effluent? Just trying to be nice and chock full of patience is going to turn me into a dedgum half-wit…

How about getting one of those fake pagers and keeping it in your pocket. Then the next time a monopolizing monologist corners you, act like your pager just vibrated, look at it and say “Gosh, I just got paged, I’ve got to go…”

Either that or sock full of walnuts upside the head.

I’d go with the first one.

Great, I just posted this and then I see right below it a “recommend me a bike” by Kamandi, one of my favorite posters. I hope it was apparent it wasn’t the subject matter these one sided conversations tackled, it was the endless and mindless chatter that a few people feel compelled to put others through. I probably shouldn’t even call them conversations since at the end all I’m contributing is a series of strained grunts.

Just a little comedic relief here-your OP about people who go on and on was-erm-quite long!
Just kidding.
Anyway, I also have a serious problem with chatty people who can’t read screaming body language. My tactic with my old roommate, the Mouth of the South, was to simply say, in a polite, bubbly tone;
“Gosh, sorry I can’t listen any more, I’ve got to go to the store/get something done/whatever. See you later!”

Not overly offensive on its face, but in 10 seconds, the person will realize that you said “listen” instead of “talk”, and that should clue them in. If not, at least it got rid of them this time…

Over 500 words to ask how to deal with people who talk too much. :slight_smile:

Let 'em ramble, and plan your week. Or excuse yourself self-deprecatingly. “Oh, man, I forgot I have to call so-and-so”. That way, you put the “blame” on yourself and distract them from the fact that you can’t stand to hear them talk one second longer.

Bwhaahaaa. Mkay, you’ve got me laughing again.

I’ve got a raging deadline today, but I HAVE to tell this story. :smiley: (Could have sworn I told it here before, but maybe it got eaten in the Great Board Purge.)

A friend of ours was scheduled to play music at a local coffeehouse, and then stayed at our house the following night. We had learned the hard way that the coffeehouse owner was given to making stories much longer and more detailed than they needed to be. But our friend’s new husband didn’t know about this. So at the break we went back to the bar to get drinks for the second set, and there was poor Mike, being “regaled” with a VERY detailed, day-by-day account of how the owner’s bison had gotten loose several weeks ago, what county roads they crossed, whose property they were on, what kind of crops they damaged, the names and family histories of the people who chased after them, what kind of trucks they drove, what kind of guns they had, what order they were finally shot in (they had gone wild), and who got the steaks and how many of what kind. Blah blah blah blah blah.

By the end of the story (about fifteen minutes of nonstop talking by the owner, with Mike nodding politely), about ten people were standing there with money in hand, waiting for drinks. Finally we were all served, and Mr. S and I returned to our table, obviously both thinking the same thing. We say down and looked at each other for a few seconds, and then Mr. S said, “So anyway, my bison got out, and they ran around loose for a few weeks, and finally we had to shoot 'em.”

God, my hubby cracks me up.

So the next afternoon we were having dinner with these friends, and we asked Mike, “So, what did you think about Tim’s bison story?” Without missing a beat, Mike said, “Well, it was really, really long. But at least it was boring.”

God, Mike cracks me up.

Damn dude, I had a great response, but I’ve got to run. My pager’s going off, and I gotta call Biba, then I gotta run to the store to get some Dri-Bottoms. :smiley:

I don’t have any advice. I’d just like to commisserate.

A certain person at work I deal with is quite verbose. And needlessly so. It’s usually work stuff, but he’ll give you all the background, in a real roundabout fashion, even if it has nothing to do with what you’re there for.

He’s also got a hell of a temper, and we mix like oil and water.

My boss and coworkers all feel the same way, but are somehow able to calmly listen while he rambles, knowing that once he gets it off his chest, you can proceed and get the work done. I just don’t have the patience.

For all I know, my boss has the most organized life in the world, thanks to this yahoo.

This board makes me two things…
humble & smile.

I used to work with someone like this. It was back in the days when PCs were very expensive and still pretty much ran DOS, and you had to be a major geek to really use one. Well, this one person decided, because I had a degree in computer science, that I must be interested in every damned aspect of his damned PC. In fact, not only did I not have a PC, I knew nothing about PCs, and cared even less. So I would have to stand there in the corridor, positively radiating “I have to go now” rays and contemplating chewing off my own arm if it would get me out of this trap, while my co-worker regaled me with stories of how he got his printer to work.

If nothing else, it gave me a sense of awareness, and in the unlikely case that I ever bore anyone (it hasn’t happened yet), I’m sure I’d recognize the symptoms of the restless shuffle, the hopeless expression on the face, and the gnawing off of major limbs to attain one’s freedom.


When Mr. Toy and I first started dating I left the house while my mother was talking. Mr. Toy informed me that it was rude and I should wait until she was finished talking. I explained that people had died waiting for her to stop talking. 25 years later he can walk out and shut the door in mid sentence without guilt.
After we were married he told me he wondered why I was such a quiet person. He said he finally realized it was because I never got to talk at home.

At mom’s funeral we are asking the Mortician to make sure her mouth is open so people will reconize her.

I knew a person who insisted that you hear every detail about her obnoxious little life in high school.

She was a freshman when I was a senior. She annoyed me to no end. Even when I said, “Hey, I’ll talk to you later, I gotta go…”, she would INSIST on talking for five more minutes.

One day I happened to be right behind her in the choir room when she started ripping into me to a group of our mutual friends, who were all snickering and grinning because they knew I was listening and were just waiting on me to pounce on her.

To my credit, I held it in until she began talking about how I didn’t deserve the accolades I was getting my senior year.

I then said something to the effect of, “What an interesting perspective on me, Jess. I have to say, that’s not the story you tell me to my face.”

Her face turned so white, and then red, it was unbelievable. :slight_smile:

Well, this isn’t quite directly related to the OP but close.

I was second level tech support at a company and part of job was to handle irate callers (know in house as ‘sitting on the angry chair’)for tech, billing and some other issues. Due to a PHB decission we could not call ourselves Supervisors so every once in a while someone would ask if we were supervisors. Upon saying “No, but…” the caller asked to speak with a Supervisor. At that time we would go get a Supervisor, tell the Supervisor what to say[#1] and have them take the call. Anyway, one day I get this guy who won’t shut up. He goes on 10 minute rants and whenever you try to speak he just goes off again. He finally asked if I was a Supervisor and then demanded to speak with one. I went and got Dan[#2]. Dan, after this call, became my personal hero.

Dan jacks into my phone and said his name and position. The guy on the phone, who is about screaming at this point, goes off on a five minute rant. When the guy stops Dan doesn’t say anything for like 30 seconds. Finally the guy asks if Dan is still there. Dan responded with “Yes sir, I am. I appologize, my headphones fell off and I didn’t hear what you said. Could you repeat yourself?”. The guy sputtered for like 10 seconds, paused and then said “Nevermind” and hung up. At that point I burst out laughing. I used that technique after that and it always worked like a champ.


#1. Amazingly enough, at this company the word of help desk was the word of God unless you made an error. I did that job for a year and a half and was never overturned. I had two cases that got the the VP of our division and he backed me up every time. Also, most of the time the Supervisor we got to take the calls had no clue about the issue and relied on us to tell them what the situation was.

#2. Dan was truely amazing in that he said things on calls that would get most people fired yet he always won. On one irate call he called the customer a ‘D***’ and, by the end of the call, had the customer appologizing for being one.

After about three minutes of a boring one-sided conversation with someone I don’t terribly respect, I’ll say, “Okay, we’re done here.” or “You could really have this conversation alone. I’ll be in my room if you need me.” I don’t care if I offend them or not. With my students, I say, “Is there a climax to this story, or are we still at the exposition? Work on your storytelling. Pith is everything.”

There are two women at work who I adore. They are sweeeeeeet women, but they absolutely gab far too much. I have to force myself to WALK OFF while they’re talking, or I’ll be there all day. And when I walk off, they keep talking, raising their voices, trying to finish the conversation. It’s the strangest thing. I love them, so I don’t want to say anything rude, but my time is far too valuable to participate in unnecessary conversations.

On a related note, I don’t like being made to wait while someone finishes a lengthy conversation either. Today, I waited five minutes for my assistant principal to finish her conversation with a student, and when she never did ask me what I wanted, I turned my back on her and walked off. Immediately, she asked me what I wanted. I should’ve walked off sooner.

Another soul commiserating here, with my techniques of dealing with the situation.

Worst offender I know for this is a friend (and yes, I do still consider her that) who is seriously ILL when it comes to conversation. She will talk, and talk, and TALK, and talk…and doesn’t even PAUSE, ever, so you have the mere opportunity to say “That sucks, well gotta go…” One time I just let her go to see how long it would be…45 minutes later, I was climbing the walls. I try to be sympathetic, but after a while, it becomes obvious that it isn’t my sympathy or interest she wants–just my audience. She never asks how my life is, or any other normal conversational turns…it’s all her, her, her ad nauseum.

So, I:

  1. Interrupt her. This takes work, as she will continue to talk right over me for a while. It becomes a battle of who-can-ignore-who most. Eventually, I win.

  2. Wait for her to breathe, then say I have to go.

  3. (Not that I’m proud of this one) Flag down my hubby and have him either a) ring the door bell, or b) call me downstairs for SOME such emergency.

It’s fascinating and pathetic…how desperate and lonesome was her upbringing that she feels she has to hold a “friend” hostage so she can unload 20 years of depression on me?

I forgot, the most important one (and the one used most commonly):

  1. I don’t call her anymore.

I email her. I can get up and leave the computer…can’t hold me hostage! (Well, much!)

I think what I find most disturbing is their insistence on filling up every moment of dead space. During our 25-minute lunch break, there are about five teachers who eat together in my room. We laugh, commiserate, and whatnot. Some days, we don’t say much at all because sometimes silence is the best thing we can do for each other. A sixth teacher has recently joined us, and if she doesn’t shut up and let the conversation flow naturally, I’m going to ask her to leave. Yesterday, she brought in the Reader’s Digest quiz just to make sure we weren’t bored! We don’t get bored!!! We’re teachers!!! We have our imaginations to keep us occupied, thank you very much!

And I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but one of my friends and I refer to women like this as “flutterers”. They’re constantly fluttering around, multi-tasking like crazy, but never seeming to get anything done. I actually caught the same irritating Reader’s Digest woman straightening MY desk one day when she was waiting on me to return from a meeting. She was also talking to herself when I walked in the room. She talks to herself all the time. Now, I talk to myself too, but not in front of others, and not all the damn time. I just want to scream at her, “Sit down and shut the hell up or GET OUT!”

Make generous donations to scientists working feverishly on a cure for logorrhea. :wink: