Conversational Missteps That Make Me Want To Hang Up On You In Real Life

As a dude whose two abiding interests are words and other people, it's natural that I spend something like 80% of my waking life in conversation with various friends, acquaintances and semi-strangers. With all that chatting, it's inevitable I'd run into a few selfish or uninteresting conversationalists. Here are a few rookie errors that'll send me scrabbling for an excuse to get out of the room next time you open your mouth:

Treating all curves in the conversation as unwelcome interruptions: The whole point of a conversation is that it's a living, changing organism that's given shape by two equally giving partners. It isn't an audition for the latest Mamet play, so spare me the monologues and melodramatics.

Ending a lackluster anecdote by assuring me, repeatedly: "It was soooooo funny!": If it's funny, I'm already laughing. Period.

Expecting me to remember the names of all of your friends: Unless it's pivotal to your story, I'd rather not listen to a twenty-minute dissertation on the difference between Jessica P. and Jessica H. In fact, I take this to the opposite extreme: unless it's a mutual acquaintance, I replace friends' names with bare-bones epithets (Gay Priest, Law-School BFF, The Ex, etc.) to give context without interrupting the narrative flow. Haven't heard a complaint yet.

"...but that's another story. I'll tell you in a minute!": Hold the friggin' phone, Aesop. Why don't we just finish this little tale before I decide whether I want to hear another?

People babbling so fast or ranting so hard they never let you get in a word: What's funny is, inevitably afterwards they'll flash you a starry smile and tell you what a great conversationalist you are. People, eh?

Obviously there's no such thing as a perfect conversation, but some are just beyond the friggin' pale. What conversational tics or faux pas really grease your griddle?

Posted by TKOG of Not That Kind Of Girl.


magnolia said...

oh, co-signed. in total. :)

Erin said...

I hate when people don't make eye contact because they're looking around for someone more interesting to them.

Don't do me any favors! You're probably not my idea of a brilliant conversationalist either!

Anonymous said...

People who talk about their friends as if you know them..."So Joe is going to LA next week." Um, who the eff is Joe? And why do I care?

Danielle said...

I hate it when people come over specifically to talk to me, seem really interested in having a conversation, then just don't talk. Just like most people aren't interested in hearing a monologue, I'm not interested in giving one. Where's the give and take, dammit?

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