Read time: 6 minutes I just made 3 Kit-Kats fit into my mouth; I hope that explains the crankiness of the post below.
I have a new pet peeve. It used to be when people would say something like,
“Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I have something important to tell you but I wont tell you for another 3 weeks because I just can’t. Sorry, and don’t even ask me what it is until I can tell you on said date.”
Are you pregnant? Did you finally kill that boss of yours? You realized you're in love with your best friend? Are you moving to another country because good, you’re being so annoying about this? Okay fine, that’s actually still a pet peeve. Here’s a new one for my now growing list: people who tell boring, long stories or have drawn out conversations in a group setting.
Group conversations are my favorite. Just some people sharing ideas and having a good time is all you need. I love hearing about what makes people, what changes them. You can never figure out how it went from someone talking about a recent trip they had to everyone talking about a teacher they used to crush on.
So isn’t it the worst when this exchange is interrupted? All because someone just could not stop talking about the egg yolk color differences between grocery story eggs and farm eggs? Five minutes pass, ten minutes pass and the guy is still going. There were two minutes of substantial dialogue and eight minutes of redundancy. That’s an outrageous ratio for the four others at the table to endure.
This behavior should not be socially acceptable.
This upsets me for two reasons. First, you’re wasting a lot of people’s time that could be spent on another more enriching topic. It’s selfish to continuously interrupt people to share your own views. Imagine everything you’ve never heard because someone was too busy dominating the conversation. Second, adults have commitments and boring them is not one of them. It’s greedy to continue to talk about something after you have nothing new to say.
I’m a generally a horrible storyteller, I’m too concise and forget to share interesting details. That’s why I write. That’s why this topic is written and you also have the option to just stop reading. However, at a dinner table, you unfortunately cannot just walk away on someone. You have to keep sitting and listen to someone talk about his or her distaste for airplane bathrooms for absolutely too long.
Good story telling is a mastered craft. If no one has ever told you, “You have the best stories!” then it is not your skill and should limit your “creativity” to sentences that have a purpose. Telling me what the weather was like that day, the type of shirt a person wore and how that person sucks at baking for 15 minutes ALL to just tell me in the end that your friend is getting married is ludicrous. How can you not notice people losing interest, their eyes glazing over or their third attempt at changing the subject?
Even if I just met the person, I have not failed to look around at the other bored faces at the table and say, “How are we still talking about this?” I’ve been very honest about this pet peeve with everyone that has inspired it. This isn't a burn book entry of sh!t talking. I realize that I’m the worst but trust me when I say, even the bluntest of requests have not stopped the torture at times.
If its just two of you, by all means, vent till your throat croaks (though that’s still pretty rude too). If your friend just told you he lost his job and politely summed up his misery in 20 minutes, you are not entitled to a half hour discussion on how strategic you are about avoiding traffic.
Let me sound like a textbook for a few seconds: Self-awareness should not be a rare personality trait. There is so much to gain from knowing the presence you carry in a group. I realize that this is very adult of me (I’m ashamed too) but please, can we all stop the excess talking? Just be conscientious of how long you’ve been talking, a good conversation is an exchange between at least two people.
It would be sinful to go on an ironically long rant and not provide a solution. New social etiquette rule from @DamienFahey (unquestionably the top 5 funniest person on Twitter, by the way):
“Before telling a story, ask yourself, “Is this more entertaining than anything this person could be doing on their phone?”