Updated: Sep 18
Ever meet someone who could tell a good yarn, a really great story? It’s quite engaging, even compelling to listen to. Then there are what I call with a kind introduction, enthusiastic talkers; people who talk incessantly and without stopping, reaching beyond conversation, even following you as you try to disengage. They’re talking at you.
Nervous chatter, perhaps. Many people have social anxiety that comes out in different ways. Some become withdrawn with their own thoughts broadcasting loudly in their heads. Other are apt to let said thoughts out with no inhibition. When things go past reciprocal engagement or meaningfull contribution, it’s talk which is random thought unravelling.
Enthusiastic talkers can signal a glimpse of attention deficit thinking (ADHD), cognitive decline or even early onset of Alzheimer Disease according to a 2023 study from the University of Arizona. Researchers here found that those who talked excessively about themselves are less likely to be narcissists but certainly their compulsive talking is connected to having mental health issues.
Dealing with some of these challenges in conversation can be done with delicacy and compassion. You can set a time limit and perhaps a clear expectation of the conversation. Do make the effort to let your talker feel heard, while still being assertive and setting your boundaries.
These situations and people deserve to be treated with kindness. Even take a moment to quiet a non-stop talker, figure out what they are trying to say and restate it in your own words. We all know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by our own feelings. It takes a moment to figure out a way to make someone feel you're listening. We may not recall exactly what someone may or may not have said to us at any one time but we certainly know how they made us feel. Let’s leave the conversation at that.