You’ve probably seen those Peanuts cartoons involving Charlie Brown having a phone conversation with his grandmother, or a sales lady, in which the person on the other end of the line sounds like a trombone with a sock stuck inside it: “Whaa-whaa-whaa-whaa-whaa.”
And if you’ve ever been accused of talking too much, you’ve probably been mocked with that same voice.
Talkative people have a hard life. On the one hand, everyone’s always telling you to shut up. And on the other, you’re just expected to show up at every social event with a pocket full of acerbically witty conversation starters that would make Oscar Wilde swoon in admiration.
It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. Here are 15 things only those talkative people would understand.
1. You end a lot of your conversations with an apology
Your friends love you. You know they do, or they’d probably have all pooled their money together to have your tongue surgically removed, but that doesn’t stop you from going home from a coffee date with your best friend, cudgeling your brains to make sure you remembered to ask her if she got that job she’d interviewed for, or how her husband is.
Case-in-point: Last week, I texted a friend to ask if we could meet for ice cream; I was juggling three writing projects with the skill of an amateur plate-spinner, while trying to talk my parents through multiple health issues from 500 miles away, and my brain felt like over-cooked spaghetti.
After unceremoniously unloading on my friend, I looked up from my sadly empty ice cream cup and said, “I’m sorry. I just yammered at you for an hour.” The fact that I regularly render the same listening service to my friends, or the fact that I obviously needed an ear, didn’t stop me fearing that she’d probably wished I had laryngitis that day.
2. You can’t keep a secret
Well, actually, you can, but you make it a rule that anyone must inform you of your roll as secret keeper before entrusting you with classified information so that you remember to switch on the brain-to-mouth filter. Remember that episode of “The Big Bang Theory” when Penny made Sheldon swear he wouldn’t tell Leonard that she’d lied about finishing community college? If anyone forgets to activate the secret-keeping clause with you, it’s not going to end well.
I learned this lesson the hard way in high school when I entrusted one soul on the planet with the name of the boy I secretly wanted to go to the Senior Prom with and made her swear not to tell him. She didn’t, but one night while at the local coffee shop, she boldly asked me in front of the rest of our girlfriends whether or not I’d worked up the courage to ask him to the prom.
“That’s classified information!” I hissed.
“What? I didn’t tell him. I swear I didn’t,” she protested.
“No,” I said, “but you just told everyone at this table, not to mention everyone else in earshot.”
Given the fact that half the student body usually congregated at this particular coffee shop on weekends, the information eventually reaching the boy in question was an inevitability.
3. You’re famous for maxing out your Twitter API limit on a five-minute firect message conversation
140 characters? Who are you kidding? And TweetLonger is your friend.
Recently I became rather enthusiastic in a debate with a friend about the merits of Benedict Cumberbatch versus Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes. and no sooner had my Twitter client run out of DMs than I received an email from the friend I’d been chatting with, containing the subject line “You need to stop breaking Twitter. Seriously.”
4. You sometimes catch yourself having structured conversations with your smartphone
I’m not actually sure why I do this. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m lonely and single, and talking to Siri simulates human contact. Or maybe the movie “Her” just had a more profound impact on me than I realized.
Whatever the reason, sometimes, instead of simply barking out, “Text Kate,” I ask, “Siri, can you text Kate?” I like to think she appreciates the courteous gesture.
5. You interrupt yourself
You know exactly what I’m talking about. The perfect example: So, I was running errands yesterday, and when I was in the checkout line at the grocery store, I got stuck behind a woman wearing a hat with so many feathers it looked like she had a giant bird perched on her head, and – wait, did I ever tell you about the time I ran over a bird with my car? That was awful, because I’m terrified of birds. I never told you why I’m terrified of birds, did I?
Your friends must love cliffhangers, because they never complain, and they’re still dying to know what happened in that car-hits-bird scenario. You can’t help it. You’re the Energizer Bunny of storytelling.
6. You’re everyone’s favorite road trip buddy
And you always get shotgun because when the iPod has exhausted its selection and you’re stuck behind a Winnebago crawling at 20 MPH, whoever’s driving will thank you later for keeping them awake and single-handedly saving all of your lives.
My best friend used to bribe me with Starbucks: “If you keep me awake, I’ll buy you a caramel latte.”
Honestly, I don’t know why he bothered to bribe me with lattes and espresso brownies. I almost never need an excuse to open my mouth, though caffeine and chocolate are usually pretty good motivators.
7. Your own phone interrupts you at the most pivotal point in your latest tale when the person on the other end calls you back
You know exactly what I mean. The person you’re talking to hasn’t said a word in 20 minutes and you didn’t realize the call dropped. The most embarrassing part of the conversation is usually the point at which you attempt to resume the story.
“So, where did I leave off?” You ask. “Did I lose you before I got to the part where he proposed?”
“Wait, you’re engaged?” The other person cries incredulously.
“You missed that? But that was like ten minutes ago.”
“Yeah, that’s how much you talk.”
8. You’re the first person everyone expects to fill a lull in the conversation, and you’re always willing to rise to the challenge
When the well of words has run dry, you’ll dust off an amusing anecdote about the time you had too many margaritas and managed to lock yourself out of a bathroom that didn’t actually lock. It might also be the perfect moment to resume that car-meets-bird story where you left off last year.
All too often, your own life debacles form the subject of these stories, but you’ve learned to accept it with good grace. No sacrifice is too great to keep the conversation flowing.
9. Your friends and family regularly tell you to consider a career in public speaking
You talk so much anyway, you might as well get paid for it, and you’re always the first one everyone volunteers for a speech, or a toast, or (unfortunately for you) a eulogy. Your family probably even has a running joke that when you die, there’ll be no one to speak at your service, because you’re the designated family eulogist.
10. You have a serious case of voicemail anxiety
What do you mean, you only have up to three minutes? So you either end the call, or wind up doing your best impression of Six from the 90s sitcom “Blossom” that no one can understand. You should have just texted.
Still, your friends are always amazed when you leave them messages and manage to squeeze in the news about your new job, a story about your trip to the park with your golden retriever, and the latest update on your grandmother’s recovery from open-heart surgery, all without seeming to take a breath.
11. Your text-messages get cut off
Sometimes when you text people, they regularly respond with messages along the lines of “I only got the first half of that.”
This is why you’re famous for texting friends to ask if you can call them, because it’s easier than giving them text anxiety while they stare at that maddeningly cryptic “buddy is typing” bubble, waiting for you to finish your latest novel.
Recently I texted a friend with the intention of giving her my flight information for my return home from a family trip, but the message evolved into a saga about everything that had occurred over the course of the past three weeks.
Finally, when I’d finished, my friend texted back to ask, “I think I might have missed part of your message. When does your flight get in?” Oops.
12. You talk too much, even for your smartphone’s attention span
For someone who’s supposedly always at my service, Siri can be irritatingly inattentive sometimes. While I generally don’t rely on voice dictation for written communication, because I find Siri’s ability to insert proper punctuation spotty at best, sometimes when I’m feeling particularly chatty, I’ll ask her to send a text for me, thinking it’ll just be quicker and spare my carpal tunnel syndrome.
The number of time’s she’s timed out on me and said, “Sorry, I didn’t catch that” has made me question whether or not I really do talk too much.
13. You’re the king or queen of conversational icebreakers
Your natural loquaciousness brings people together. I once based an eight-month relationship with a guy on his answer to my question, “If you could be stuck in an elevator with anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?”
Any man who replies, “Yoda, because he could just teach me to use The Force to get us out” is a man after my own heart.
And nothing chips away at the ice of an awkward introduction better than an arbitrary question like “Penguins – for or against?”
Whether people see this as an invitation to debate where penguins rank on the scale of animal cuteness or the merits of “Penguins of Madagascar” as a film, everyone’s been spared the anxiety of discussing the weather or the most recent book they’ve read. You’re welcome.
14. You’re actually an excellent listener
It sounds counter intuitive, but in my experience, talkative people actually absorb most of what’s going on around them, because they’re always the ones who have to tell everyone else what the teacher, or flight attendant, or tour guide just said.
Among my family and friends, this responsibility generally falls on my shoulders. I don’t know why, but everyone assumes that I’ve been able to recall the fancy French-sounding specials the restaurant server has just rattled off over my grumbling stomach while nobody was paying attention an that i’m more than happy to repeat dishes I can barely pronounce.
The theory is that I’ll be talking anyway, so I might as well make myself useful or keep my breath to cool my porridge.
15. You always know the right thing to say
99 times out of 100, your friends are telling you to shut up (albeit affectionately), but when they need advice about their latest relationship problems, need someone to talk them through anxiety attacks, or just want to hear a friendly voice on a bad day, you’re always ready with words of wisdom or witty banter, and this is probably why everyone puts up with your prattle in the first place.
Featured photo credit: Victorian Ladies Talking by OpenClips via pixabay.com