Rant against myself because I'm mean and intolerant

I am the most horrible person I know at this moment.

(And no, I’m not trying to steal pldennison’s steam. And yes, I know I’m exaggerating about being the most horrible person. Just bear with me, kay?)

There’s this lady who volunteers in my lab. Nice woman, really. She makes cookies for us graduate students and always has a smile and a compliment ready when you need one. And that’s why I feel so guilty right now.

You see, she has this little problem. Or at least, I think she has a problem. She talks TOO much. I’m talking, all you have to do is say a key word and she starts. Like, I’ll say, “My wrist is itchy” and she launch into a monologue that begins with, “Really? My daughter Elizabeth had an itchy wrist yesterday and she thought it was a spider bite but it turned out to be a bee sting. Isn’t that horrible? And she’s allergic to bees. I used to know a man–his name was Arnold Zeller and he works in the zoology department at NYU. He was my friend’s cousins’ next-door-neighbor’s friend for awhile. Nice looking man, too. Looks like Mel Gibson, except he has a white beard and bushy eyebrows. He works with bees and he says they will only sting if you are wearing Suave hair conditioner. Isn’t that strange? And Elizabeth doesn’t even wear Suave. She wears Prell. What conditioner do you wear? Blah-Blah-BLAH-BLAH!!!”

Goodness! She talks so much that I think I’m going to throw up sometimes. I’m deeply introverted (even though sometimes I’ll have my moments when I’m talkative…depends on what the topic is). So when I have to listen to this woman–or at least pretend that I’m listening–it drains me psychologically. Sometimes it takes every grain in my body to keep from screaming, “SHUT THE HELL UP!” I’ve started hiding in my office to avoid her, but I eventually have to go back to the lab to work.

I’m not the only person that finds her annoying, but I think I’m the only person that’s having such a visceral reaction.

Friday, she read out loud a long-ass paragraph from book about Seth Boyden, a famous inventor from New Jersey. Halfway through, I blanked out, her voice fading into the ambient noise of the room. If she had asked follow-up questions, I would have been screwed. But it was Friday, my brain was fried, and I couldn’t give a rats’ ass about Seth Boyden or his patent leather!

She also nags me. She’s in her fifties; I’m in my twenties, close to her daughters’ age. She asks if I’ve eaten, if I’ve taken my vitamins, and she tells other people that I’m anemic, as if it’s their business. She also showers me with unsolicited offers of help and advice. If I’m yawning in front of the computer, she’ll tell me to go lay down in my office. If I’m exerting any effort with something, she’ll insist that she help me, even if I insist back that I’m fine.

And this is why I feel so bad. She’s so nice and my thoughts are so horrible and mean, and they are only getting meaner. Sometimes I think she can tell that I’m getting tired of her by my lack of response when she talks to me. I try to sound interested but it’s tough, man. Really, it is.

The pleasure I get from coming into work everyday is lessening considerably. There’s a dread factor that wasn’t there before. I know people will suggest I talk to her, but what do you say to someone who’s being so nice and friendly? And what if it’s not she who has the problem, but me? Why can’t I be a more tolerant, friendly person? Why can’t I accept her talkativeness as eagerly as I accept her cookies?

Is it easier to be mean than nice? Why does one seem to come so naturally to me than the other?

Tough situation. I used to live with my cousin, who has similar conversational diarreha. I dreaded hearing her come home because of it. I could not hear her talk for 5 seconds without getting irritable, it sucked toes. I know it wasn’t all her fault, but it didn’t help. Heck, I got all pissed when she made me an apple tart, I just thought “You spent an hour making this stupid thing for me (that I didn’t want anyway) but can’t spend 5min straightening up the living room.”

Things didn’t get better until we got separate apartments…

I don’t understand this at all. Finding someone’s personality annoying is mean and intolerant? As long as you haven’t actually done anything outright nasty to her, you’re OK.

As to how to actually deal with the situation - nothing to offer - best of luck.

I feel the same way about my best friend sometimes. She’s been my best friend for 17 years, I love her to death, obviously, but when I see her (once a year, if that!) I very quickly find myself getting annoyed by how she goes on and on and on and on and …

And yeah, I feel guilty about it too, you’re not alone.

You’re not a mean person. Some people, with the nicest, best intentions, are really annoying.

As for advice, you’re screwed. If a conversation goes on too long, you can sometimes gently interrupt and say “well, I should really get back to work now, but I hope your daughter’s arm is better.” But most of the time, you’ll just have politely suffer.

Introduce her to the SDMB. She might get addicted and become a prolific poster istead of a prolific talker :smiley:

scratches head
mmm…forget about all the crap people say about open and frank dialogue blah blah blah. it obviously doesn’t apply in your situation.

i say: become a radio fanatic!!! always carry a discman/mp3 player/walkman and wear the assorted headphones. whenever you 2 are talking and she starts to annoy you, cut her with a:

“oh sorry, the baseball game begins now, we’ll talk later”

or a

“i LOVE this song while pointing your finger up to make her shut up”

if that doesn’t work, give her some of her own medicine, take every opportunity to talk about disgusting stuff. don’t let her reply, fake enthusiasm for the subject , start raising your voice over hers to explain exactly how cannibals cut their victims, the amount of blood involved, the taste of the brains and as many graphical details as you can make up.

this is the best i can think of. please let me know if it works.

Gozu, that’s an excellent idea about the earphones. I don’t know if I’m going to do it (because another one of my pet peeves is people who deafen themselves with earphones), but knowing that there is a solution makes me feel better nonetheless.

I wonder what this says about me…:slight_smile:

monstro, I know exactly how you feel. I’m program chair for a Mensa Regional Gathering this Labor Day weekend. One of our local Mensans has agreed to do 2 programs for us. He was at a meeting last night, and I had to shut him up abruptly before the RG chair did so. He’s a nice guy, but completely and utterly clueless, so I’m sure he had no idea why (or if) I started to get frustrated when he asked me to repeat part of a conversation which had taken place immediately before because, while the first conversation was going on, he’d been rambling on about something else! When he asked me to repeat parts of the first conversation, a second one was going on, and there were things I needed to know about first. Picture someone who comes into a movie 5 minutes late and keeps asking the person they’re with what just happened. I am grateful to him – he’s not getting paid for this – and I know his social skills have improved, but it wasn’t easy to deal with.


Do you work with my grandmother or my sister’s mother-in-law?

While I love both of them dearly, I swear to GAWD I’m going to lock them both into a smal, airtight room someday, just to see how long the oxygen lasts… :smiley:

The only way to deal with this problem, really, is to politely excuse yourself. Glance at your watch and say “Oh! I really have to get this done. Talk to you later! :)” Or, “Hey, I’d love to stay and chat but I REALLY gotta pee. I’ll talk to you soon. :)” (Don’t forget the smile - it’s important.)

Grabbing someone in the hall and saying something along the lines of, “Jane! Hey, I wanted to catch up with you on <make up an issue>.”

Luck :wink:

Hrrm why do I have the feeling that you are in my lab.

We don’t work together by chance and you just kinda changed the name/position of it who will not freaking shut up.
That being said… I’m training a new guy right now who either a) won’t shut up or b) well stop what he’s doing and talk to 20 min if I see if he’s doing alright.

Never mind that the conversation is either about:

  1. His relatives who are pharmasists and are breaking a NUMBER of federal laws regarding prescription drugs.

  2. Money, how everything is expensive.

  3. Money as in how cheap he is… long involved story…

  4. How I should live my life. AKA going to grad school is the stupidest thing you could do.

The first 3 I ignore, I smile and nod.

but the last one.

GODDAMNIT Why do you waste so much of your effort trying to ruin my dreams and goal you stupid racist pigfucker!

(Hrrm I forgot all of the racism that spews from his mouth. Each time he starts I think, “Become a US citizen, classes for racist education required.”)

Anyhoo enough of a hijack.

You’re not being a bad person. In my book the woman is being VERY rude… Either ignore her or say something like, “I’m sorry, but I’m busy and I get much better work done when I’m not talking with someone”.

And don’t give me this ‘she’s old and lonely’ crap. You should be able to tell if you are annoying someone and should never give out random advice or nag someone who you aren’t close with!

Wow, somehow my drink-addled brain read

without the “with unsolicited offers of help and advice.”

Needless to say, :eek:

Hey, better to work with that woman than this one:

“Moving some books? Ahaha!”
“Getting some lunch? AAHAHAHAAA!”