04 February 2009

"People, they're the worst"--J. Seinfeld

As long as we're talking about interactions...

A long-standing peeve of mine: People who don't know how to carry on a decent conversation. Those who've met me will never label me a scintillating conversationalist but there are people that don't even seem to get the basic ebb and flow concept.

These are people that, upon a question from you, will gladly talk about themselves for forty-five minutes without pausing to see if you're paying attention (or still alive) but once they finally wind down, will just sit there, basting in their own juices, rather than learn anything about you.

You ever find yourself next to these people at a dinner party? It's brutal. You ask Wally a pleasant, polite question and suddenly it's "The Wally Show" and there's no off switch.

So, fine. you now know way more than you wanted to about Wally. Okay, you asked. Fair enough. But then Wally sits and stares.

Wally doesn't know anything about you and can't be bothered to ask. No "What do you do?" No "Tried the cheese dip?" No "Single or multiple?" Nothing.

A variant of this but no less irritating, are the people that can't be bothered to respond with more than a one word answer, much less show a polite interest in you.

Me: So, how do you know Sally?

Dick: Work.

Me: Uh-huh...

Dick: *stares into middle distance*

Me: Do you like the company?

Dick: Eh. *stares into middle distance*

Me: *stabs self in eye*

How is this acceptable?


Narm said...

Where are you that you are hanging out with people named Wally and Dick???

AbbotOfUnreason said...

I admit that I am horrible at these kinds of things. I'm worried with every question I think of that I'm supposed to already know the answer.

Me: Hi, I'm the Abbot of..
Tanya: I'm Tanya, remember? We dated for three years?
Me: Oh, sorry. I, uh, so what do you do these days?
Tanya: I'm your CIO.
Me: Urk. Do you have any, uh, pets?
Tanya: Just that stupid alley cat you left behind and her kittens. Why didn't you have her fixed?
Me: I don't remember, sorry. Must have been a bad day. Do you have any hobbies?
Tanya: Tom, you know I'm a championship cup stacker. We went to that big competition in Reno, remember?
Me: My name's not Tom.

Liebchen said...

Oy. These extremes are terrible. It's like people don't know that there's a happy medium when it comes to having a conversation.

They also tie into my little pet peeve of people who take 30 minutes to tell a 10 minute story. I know it's interesting...but please.

LBluca77 said...

Don't take it out on your eye. But I know what you mean I hate people like that. It is not like you are trying to talk to someone in the dentist office waiting room, it is a dinner party. Come on people at least try and be fun.

f.B said...

nothing bores me like talking to the sound of my own voice. only thing i can think of is that some people were just raised to be useless in conversation.

PQ said...

It IS aggravating. I don't do that to people I interact with on a daily basis but sometimes I do it to my mom.

Only cuz she asks too many questions...the same questions...over and over.

But in daily interaction, at school and at work...I need to carry on conversations and if someone can't...I shy away from them very quickly.

Bilbo said...

I like to read while I'm commuting on the bus and Metro. My curse is a very nice lady who wants to talk to me ALL THE TIME, even when I'm obviously engrossed in my book. I really don't need to know any more than I already do about her cats, or what she's fixing for dinner, or how busy she is at work. But I get it anyhow. AARRGGHH!!

fiona said...

Don't get me started on this one! On more than one occasion whilst my Mum is giving me a blow by blow account of her day, I have put the phone down and given huh, uhu, hmm at 3-5 minute intervals. Kind of like this
Mum - Talking crap
Me - Take out trash,come back and say uhu into phone
Mum - Still talking
Me - Sort laundry, say hmmm into phone etc etc
This has been known to go on for up to half an hour.
I'd be hosed if I had to sit beside her at a dinner party!

Herb of DC said...


Barbara said...

Nothing in school teaches a person how to converse. I actually learned a lot about conversing when I joined a college sorority and had to go through rush on both sides of the fence. Some of that is pretty brutal!

LiLu said...

I HAVE tried the cheese dip, and it was deeeeevine. Wally, not so much.

FoggyDew said...

I'm a bit of a talker. I've had to learn myself over the years to also become a listener.

The really funny thing is when I'm out with another "talker" I generally end up ceeding the conversational field to them.

Mike said...

It's amazing how some people can take 30 minutes to describe a one minute event.

Kristin said...

I think my first date was with Wally. "Nice watch." Nothing. "How's school?" Nothing. "How do you know Heather [the friend that set us up]?" Nothing.

emma said...

This is why I never leave the house.

Matt said...

No joke- yesterday at walmart while checkin out my groceries the cashier told me about:

the $ amt of coupons she gets
her new house
her dogs
what happened to her eye.

seriously, wtf?

AbbotOfUnreason said...

So, huh, what happened to her eye?

lacochran said...

Narm: Cleveland.

AbbotOfUnreason: Urk, indeed.

Liebchen: I'll second that emotion.

LBluca77: THANK YOU! You totally get it.

f.B: I guess it's important to have goals.

PQ: It's nice if you can work an escape.

Bilbo: Switch cars.

Fiona: huh, uhu, hmm. (Just kidding.)

Herb of DC: Well played, Sir.

Barbara: They should teach this in school. Plus, financial planning.

LiLu: Wally should be cheese dipped.

FoggyDew: But you *have* learned! Kudos!

Mike: Exactly! Wait, was that a dig?

Kristin: Was he lying on a slab in the morgue?

Emma: Hermit living does have it's rewards.

Matt: I HATE that. Just do your job!