Mar 06

old men talking

Sometimes we have these small habits that may be born from insecurities, past experiences or being an introvert. The term “socially awkward” does not always mean a person who stands quietly in the corner staring at on their smart phone; it can also means someone who comes off as a spaz when engaged in conversation.

Many of us have friends who do things that are unacceptable in a general sense but since we love and accept them it doesn’t seem so bad… until a new person is added to our clique and reacts. Imagine if you were that person but nobody bothered to tell you that you are an annoying ass? Well this is why I felt the need to make the following list of things that tend to piss people off.

1. Unconsciously talking about yourself – Take it from an award winning listener like yours truly, people value your silence and observation over your relating to their story. So if you are the type who feels that one great story deserves another you should probably check yourself.

People who want so badly to identify with someone’s plight or story tend to inject their own as a gut reaction. If you find that you are doing this then concentrate your efforts on keeping it to yourself and actively listening to the person who is either sharing or complaining about their own personal strife.

2. Interrupting – While I know people who will never shut up unless interrupted, if you interrupt someone who hardly talks, or talks a fair amount then you will be mentally filed away as an asshole. We all have dealt with someone who interrupts and it comes off as if that person is so self-important that nothing you say will ever matter to them.

Conversation is a well-coordinated game of verbal tennis but if someone tends to interrupt the other on a constant basis it is akin to driving your serve continuously into the net. Soon the person watching you hit the net will get bored and quit. Try listening and letting the person finish before talking.

3. Diarrhea of The Mouth – Are you a nervous motor mouth? I ran into someone like this recently and it was amazing to witness. This woman interrupted me mid-speech, proceeded to make an example of herself in the same situation as mine, made her own jokes, laughed at them and kept on talking.

We were in a vehicle en route to the office and had offered her a ride (she works with us) but for the entire ride it was a one-woman show starring her. She kept going and going and going, which could have been irritating if I didn’t realize that she was going through one hell of a nervous twitch.

If you find that you are the one doing all of the talking in a situation and you aren’t a performer on stage, trust me, you are pissing someone off.

4. Grammar Nazi – You can file this under “being an elitist douchebag” because that is what people think of you. It doesn’t matter whether you are an authority or not – one adult will never feel comfortable with another adult correcting them in front of other adults. The only person you are helping with this is yourself and everyone notices.

No the only time to correct language and grammar is when asked and if you feel that doing so is improving society then you are sorely mistaken. The other part of this is that grammar Nazi antics stem from being socially awkward also since it comes from a wanting to show your intelligence.

* * * *

Look nobody’s perfect, but most people will agree that the 4 things listed above have been reasons for them slowing contact with an individual who does this. I have found that one of the worst things you can do to someone is prove to them that you don’t give a damn about them—by not listening—so think about that whenever you engage. It is better to be labeled a good listener than someone who doesn’t know when to shut the hell up.

See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.
  • The “I went through something similar” thing is the worst to me. Its so irritating and usually worse than your story – even if it is completely preposterous.

    • I have a buddy who unconsciously does this… sometimes I mess with him by recanting a story that is unique to my background so I know it would be impossible to one-up… somehow he always finds a story to relate. It is pretty annoying.

  • JMS2013

    We live in such a self-centered society, it isn’t surprising that people don’t like it when another person can relate to something that they’ve done. God forbid they aren’t unique in the fact that they once went to that special restaurant while on vacation in Hawaii, or had a Westie named Roger or something. Instead of sharing similar experiences as a way to bond with someone, people just seem to want to have a one-way conversation with a passive listener who is fascinated by every detail, and oooohs and ahhhs over everything like a 5 year old seeing fireworks for the first time.

  • Jason Hill

    Grammar nazis and one-ups gotta go.

  • Frank

    When I was a very young man, I had to dominate the conversation. Thankfully, I had a great friend who put me in check and brought this flaw to my attention. I made it my mission to be a good listener. So, here is sign that you have reached a level of good listenership….let the conversation dominator in your life exhaust themselves with you. When you are on the telephone and finally here, “are you still there?” …you have made a huge step.