Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nine Common Annoying Conversation Habits (AKA My List of Crap that Bugs Me and Two of Which I'm Guilty)

There is a morning news show that airs here in Los Angeles that features three hosts; a man and two women. The man is fine, I have no complaints about him. He's a'ight *knuckle knocks* The women, however, drive me insane. The weather girl(?) I guess, since she's usually found flipping through a tabloid or filing her nails, drinking coffee, and occasionally gets up to let you know that it's hot in southern California and it probably won't rain. She's also crass and obnoxious. But then I'm crass and obnoxious here on my own blog so look who's throwing stones at glass houses. Hypocrite, who? She often talks about subjects that are best left for the bar or locker room and not the morning hour during breakfast. [What is it with morning shows anyway? The radio is the same way. If you want to put your kids on the fast track to adult conversation, just tune in while driving them to school in the morning but be ready to answer, "Mommy, what's a booty call?"]

The other woman is the "celebrity news" host, which basically means she reads us the morning tabloid headlines. I don't know if it's because this is Los Angeles but her segments dominate the three hour show. Then they'll have whats-his-nuts from TMZ on to confirm if she's read them correctly or not. But this woman thinks she is very funny. She has this terribly annoying habit of fake laughing at her own jokes all the way through her face time. She thinks she is a riot. And now it drives poor Mr. Farklepants crazy since I brought it to his attention.

All of the above is my talented way of making a short story long [I'm gifted like that. Note to self: call MENSA]: The following are nine annoying habits people use in conversation.

  1. The One-Upper: this is the person that, while you're telling them your own story, will check out halfway through your first sentence to prepare themselves to one-up you the second you finish. They are not listening to what you are saying. As soon as you stop talking they will tell you how something the same or similar happened to them and how it was so much worse or absolutely better. And aren't you glad you're not/ don't you wish you were them? Your conversation has become a competition to them and they are going to win. The only way to end a conversation with The One-Upper is to say, "yep, you're right".
  2. The Space Invader: this person isn't familiar with the universal law of personal space. They're convinced that the only way you'll listen too or understand them is if they speak directly within an inch of your face. All hints of backing up are a sign to The Space Invader to move in closer. The way to navigate a conversation with this person is to have your back to the door. If you're up against a wall you are fooked.
  3. The Lip Reader: this doesn't take much explaination. This person watches your lips while you speak. It's irritating and also inspires me to roll my tongue up like a taco just to see their reaction.
  4. The Looker-Upper: ohmygod I'm so guilty of this. And it's an annoying habit that I'm aware of and trying to overcome. I This person will keep my their face forward while talking but my their eyes will look up as if there is a teleprompter just above my their eyebrows that is feeding them my their lines.
  5. The No-Eye-Contacter: Um, yeah, I do this too. This person will not look you directly in the eyes while speaking but rather will focus on something just to the side of your face or fidget with an imaginary thread on their lap. I think I started doing this when I realized that trying to look at both of the eyes at the same time on the person you're talking too is almost impossible and then I do that whole shifting back and forth... look at their left, look at their right, look at their... hey look! A tree let me look at that. Also? Please sit down for this and prepare to be shocked out of your days of the week underpants: I'm shy. Hand to God I'm shy in real life. Especially if I don't know you very well. And in that case, really, I'm lucky if I speak at all.
  6. The For-Effecter: this is the person who adds a little something (like a little nervous laugh) to the end of every sentence, question, phrase, or statement that they utter. For illustration: I went to the Mexican restaurant yesterday. Huh-huh. I ordered a chicken flauta with beans and rice. Huh-huh. It was the lunch special. Huh-huh. Only five bucks. Huh-huh. So I got two. Huh-huh.
  7. The Throat Clearer: Similar to The For-Effecter, except that they clear their throat at the end of every sentence, question, phrase, or statement that they utter. No illustration needed. Speaks for itself. Ahem.
  8. The Sentence Finisher: you totally know this person. The person who tries to predict the ending and finish your sentence for you. It's their way of saying, "I totally know what you're saying because look, I said it". It's their attempt to empathize and/or sympathize with you. Or just be an asshole. No one appreciates The Sentence Finisher. The only thing worse than a Sentence Finisher is...
  9. The Repeater: this person repeats the last few words that you just spoke in, I guess, an attempt to show that they heard what you were saying. And once you realize it's happening it is crazy making business. In fact, you'll avoid speaking to this person at all.
Yes, there are only nine. Because I couldn't think of ten. Although, I have no doubt that you creative readers will come up with fifty a few more. That's right. I just triple dog dared you.

65 comments:

Nicole said...

I used to watch that particular morning show for an entire year a few years ago. Heh. It was entertaining, but I know what you mean...

I like this list! It's totally something I would write myself. Hah.

dorothy said...

I love this! I LOL'd at number 6. If I do any of these, please let me know. I'm gonna be all self-conscious when I talk to you now, hah.

Natasha said...

Oh god. I'm a sentence finisher. And a #5-er. I'm sorry.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

omygod. I'm on this list. In more than one place. Depending upon who's doing the talking. ohmygod, she says for effect.

;-D

Sam said...

I have to point out that I am indeed a lipreader, but...I have a darn good reason for that as my set of ears don't work properly!!!

Of course, I try not to focus on the lips too exclusively and try to make sure that I look at the face rather than just the lips, but how else am I going to understand what you said!! ;-)

MizFit said...

ok they ALLL ANNOY ME (great post) but the final one? what is UP with that?!
I have a friend who does it so often Im thisclose to only speaking to him via email (via email).

I dont get it (get it).


MizFit

Rebecca said...

Alright, I'm a sentence finisher too although I'm trying to get better because I KNOW it is annoying. AND even though I hear fine I do the lip reading thing. I noticed it a few years ago and also try to do better. ACK I'm annoying!

Adrenalynn said...

Omigosh, I am SO guilty of several of these... and I rarely notice anybody else's annoying habits, because let's face it- I'm too busy yapping on about myself. Cough.

Jill said...

#2 is a personal pet peeve... though living overseas I've been forced to deal with it on a daily basis. Even after 5 years, I still can't get used to it!

Jamie said...

Hilarious! This list is awesome. I could add little pictures of people I know at the end of every number. No pictures of me...cause I'm perfect. huh-huh.

I'm gonna add one...the Mouth-mover: This is the person who watches what you are saying and moves their own mouth as you speak...like they are trying to lip-sync along with what you are saying. It's odd and slightly scary.

I'm gonna be laughing about this list all day!

reneedesigns said...

Ok now I'm going to have a complex next time I talk to someone. I'm shy too and I'm pretty sure I do at least 2 of these on a regular basis to compensate. Hangs head in shame.

Dustin said...

I can see how it would be annoying, but I do the reading lips thing,but it's because I am sort of hard of hearing, especially when there is background noise. It is sometimes the only way for me to catch the whole of what a person is saying. Sorry!

Madame Queen said...

I'm sorry Tootsie, but the No Eye Contacters drive me nutso. I once went on a date with a guy who stared at my earring all night long. I mean seriously, if he wasn't going to look me in the eye, at least look at the girls, you know? Unless he had some kind of jewelry fetish, only I wouldn't know because we never went out again (see: no eye contact!)

Here's another one for you. Someone who can't tell a story to save their damn life. They wander all around a story, and are like, oh wait, I forgot this part. It's sort of like the coyote ugly of story telling -- you'd gnaw off your own arm just to get away.

hulagirlatheart said...

My husband I have decided we have to stay married in order to finish each other's sentences now that we're getting old and forget what we're going to say in misentence. Otherwise, no one will ever no what we're trying to say. However, we will not, I repeat NOT, wear matching clothing or learn to polka.

Turbo: said...

Oh yeah! And I just found out my 5-year-old son gets to pee in a cup for his kindergarten well-child. I think in this instance, I'm happy he's a boy!

Melanie said...

You forgot "Speaks Only To Boobies."

(Which is, I think, my neighbor's Apache name.)

Threeundertwo said...

Sorry, I didn't read the whole thing, because I had to rush to comment. You know one you probably don't have on there? People who don't make eye contact. Because that bugs the heck out of me! One time this person didn't make eye contact with me and I blah blah blah

;-)

Ya... About That said...

Woman, you spoke to me this morning. My 2-year old is a #2, although we call him "The Close Talker" - he will literally spit on you during talking (and he uses great emphas(spit)is too.) We're trying our best to break him of it.

But my contribution to your list would be the NON-Throat Clearer. My online class professor used to talk like he had some NASTAY junk in his throat EVERY. DAY. and he would NEVER clear it, and it literally would make me want to throw up. I don't even think I finished the class because it was too hard to listen to.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My teens have recently informed me I'm a "Question-Talker." Apparently they find it quite annoying.

Squeaker Sullivan said...

The other Jamie already beat me to the Mouth Mover (so annoying), so I'll volunteer the person that thinks slower than they talk, and fills in the empty spaces with Uhs and Ums. Or sometimes just stares at you blankly for a moment while their brain catches up.

Anonymous said...

Here's a solution to #'s 4 & 5... if eye contact is uncomfortable, look them directly in the eyebrow. They'll never know the difference. I would also add the chest looker and cronic bad breath (esp with the close talker) to the list. Anyone want a mint?

Marcy - The Glamorous Life! said...

Oh I can't wait till we meet. I plan to stand to close, stare at your forhead-finish all your sentences but be one-upping you at the same time. I will then repeat what I say with a jaunty laugh at the end of it all!

I too did a post about THE weather girl here in LA. Take a look if you wish http://theglamorouslifeblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/rant-of-week-stripper-looking-weather.html

Allie said...

My mom takes #3 to another level. She will watch your lips and she will start moving her own to form the words you are saying as you say them. Does that make sense? I hope so. That is so annoying. Picture me shaking my fist in the air at her. And now I just realized I'm not the first commenter to say this. Oh well.

Kaye Butler said...

The interupter...Annoy the holy crap out of me.

I hate this...someone asks me a question and my 13 year old answers for me. EVERYTHING. Some of the questions I wonder how she knows the ANSWER. She doesn't, they are just made up answers. Ugh! I hav met adults that answer questions for someone else. LET US FREAKIN TALK!

Amy said...

I can't stand the #1's! My biological mother is like this and so I just don't tell her anything about my life because she always has something better to say!

And my girl - she can't tell a story to save her life. Her brain thinks so much faster than her mouth speaks. I'm constanly telling her to go collect her thoughts and then come back to talk to me.

And I'm sure I'm guilty of at least one of them. I know that at times I have a hard time making eye contact if I'm nervous.

More, More, More said...

what about the person who doesn't listen to what you are saying? The "non-listener?" I have a friend who I will sometimes say, "are you listening to me?!!" She'll ask me a question and then walk away or turn to someone and start another conversation. This same friend will ask you a quesiton and then start talking and not let you answer. It is so annoying - so annoying.

Mekhismom said...

10. The Space Outer - this person clearly has no interest in what you are saying and develops a glazed look in their eyes as you are speaking. You walk away from this person in mid-sentence and they don't even notice that you are gone.

Perksofbeingme said...

I look at people's lips but I have to because otherwise I miss 80% of conversation. I try to remember to tell people so they don't get freaked out or try to cover their lips.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Morning radio shows are SO awful. Our tv isn't too bad, but we're in the prudent midwest...

I fear I am a "for-effecter" and a "sentence finisher." Yikes! I try to work on the last one, though, because I know it's terribly rude.

JoeinVegas said...

Wait a minute, does that leave anybody that you can talk to? (averts eyes while typing this - oh, sorry, #5) Geez, I had a hard enough time talking to people before. Good thing I'm a computer guy and can just stare at the screen and nod periodically and pretend I'm busy.

Marmarbug said...

Okay my personal annoyance. People that SMIRK at you while you talk. Okay FREAKY!!!!
And people that look all over the place when talking like they are going to flip out if they are not constantly moving their head.

Auds said...

I always got stuck with college professors who were throat clearers! OMG how I just wanted to stab them in the eye with a hot poker! It is almost as bad as...

People who speak and make moist mouth noises. I don't know how else to articulate how much this makes me want to come out of my skin!

Oh and yeah, I'm guilty of number 5 sometimes. Especially if the person is standing too close, or has something weird going on with their eyes. I just can't hold someone's gaze like that. Makes me go cross-eyed.

Stephanie said...

I'm not sayin' a word..... :)

Indy said...

I think I am a one-upper. I don't like to one-up people but to empathize with them. Ugh! So guilty finishing sentences too. Damn. Love this list.

ms-teacher said...

my roommate in D.C. was a #1. It drove me crazy. I tend to just stop talking when I notice the #1 trait in people because the way I figure it, they just like to hear themselves talk.

Great list!

Swirl Girl said...

How about the 'mumble under the breath-er" I am so guilty of mumbling sarcastic comments under my breath or turning my head so the lip reader can't 'hear' me.

How about the 'glazer' = the person who is formulating their retort or comment or one uppedness before you have finished the sentence?

I am guilty of reading lips and not looking directly in the eyes sometimes. There should be a hand book to reference just how long you should look at the mouth, the nose, the eyes...quiz to follow?

You- shy? I can relate. No one in the world would consider me shy, but truth be told - I totally freak before social situations. Once I get there, I am usually fine. I use humor as a mask of insecurity. Or at least I think I do....

Stu said...

I'll fess up to #1.

You did not mention the #1 complaint of Women: "The Boob Starer or Hey, My Eyes Are Up Here" As a man, this takes some serious practice.

-Stu

Kim said...

K I'm guilty of #1 - cause I think talking about something similar lets you know I can relate. and #3 cause ...I don't know why.....better than lookin at the guy's crotch right :)

hippo brigade said...

I saw Jillian Barbarie in Paris...that is who you're talking about, right? She looked fabulous, right down to her sassy mole and her gold hair.
Oh and the One Upper? that's totally me, I'm so embarrassed to admit it, but I totally do that. I'm all like, "oh my gosh, I did that too, and bought the T-shirt!!" I'm such a loser...

Jaci said...

Ooh, I got one. The Doodler. This is a co-worker who is in your face telling you all about what happened to her, but the minute you try to tell her something about yourself, she picks up her pen and paper and only half listens, with a "Wow, I am so busy and important" expression.

I do the eye switch while talking to people, too. You're not alone!

Catkins said...

Ugh. It drives me nutso when people can't handle the simplest of social interactions.
I have another one: Tells Too Much Personal Information. I always get stuck pretending to care when someone tell me all about their ex's and why they hate their boy/girl friend today and OMG can you believe what their mom told them last night?
grrr.

MommyTime said...

How about Mr. Brain is Too Busy? You know, the one who asks what you did today and then pretends to pay attention but doesn't really listen, and then after you finish explaining in great detail about what you got at the grocery store suddenly looks at you full in the face and asks, in all seriousness as a follow-up question to his first, "So, did you make it to the grocery store today?" Yeah. I married that one, so you may not have met him. But I swear, he exists. And it is annoying.

calicobebop said...

Well, it's been mentioned before but I have to confess that my personal pet peeve is the "boob talker." Seriously, my boobs take part in more conversations than my face does - and they aren't even that big!

Sadly, I've been known to stare at a few knockers myself. I have cleavage envy, what can I say!

On another (annoying) note, I don't like talking to people that are watching TV because I always end up getting upstaged by whatever goofy crap is on. Really? Is The Daily Show more important than my story about work? Um, well probably.

Drake said...

I think that the lip readers may be no-eye-contacters that are also worried about shifty eye syndrome. I also have an issue with shifty eyes, so what I do is look right at the bridge of their nose. Not sure what it looks like from the other side, but it's working for me...

Mrs. G. said...

If we meet, you will have to look me in the eyes or I will yank your ear. My annoying habit that I am trying to break is interrupting. I get so worked up I can't wait my turn. My kids give me serious grief about it, but I am really working on it.

fairytalesandmargaritas said...

I know exactly what show you're speaking of. Every time we visit Disneyland I accidentally stop there. I can't stand those chicks! And I'm a No Eye contact person too. For the same reason, I can't look at both eyes! How weird!

HRH said...

Yes, my husband listens to a radio show in the house sometimes that is really for adult ears only. Imagine my delight when they were describing a certain man-woman loving act and describing it as "Oh look! daddy is changing mommy's diapers" which of course I heard from three boys' mouths over the following hour. Just imagine how happy I was.

Eve Grey said...

Eeewww, the lip reader. Now I'm totally going to have to fight the urge NOT to look at the lips of the next person I talk to! Thanks for the idea.

Jennifer H said...

You mean to tell me MENSA hasn't called you yet? Glaring oversight on their part. Plus, you're hot. There should be Hot MENSA.

OHmommy said...

He's a'ight *knuckle knocks*

Mamascribe said you were soft spoken but fierce. I am so trying to imagine you using those words above and can't. I will have to meet you in person. Cause I am laughing out loud hysterically. You crack me up.

And LA news has an entertainment segment? Teehee

JCK said...

I can verify that this girly is shy. But, she is also very funny. In person. I love her.

I've missed reading you. Am trying to catch up!

LiteralDan said...

Let me just stop you there and say that I totally know what you're saying, and I am disappointed that someone who understands the strangeness of trying to look someone in both eyes, and who presumably also wonders when looking intently becomes staring, would call out the rest of us like this. For shame!

To counteract that, I really like the phrase, "what's-his-nuts". I shall be using that and allowing people to think I made it up.

Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy said...

guilty as charged on several. I will definitely have to try the look at the eyebrows thing. Great list!

The Introvert said...

I try so hard to look people in the eye when I talk to them, but because of the eye problem I have, if I look at something too long, my eyes start to cross. And if you were having a conversation whose eyes started to cross, well, that might end up as number ten :)

kmbr said...

I can't deal with the morning tv and radio on "normal for profit" stations, its too crass before I've had coffee. My children are lulled to school by the dulcid tones of KPCC or KCRW. I'm hoping it doesn't turn them into pedantic twits.

Minnesota Matron said...

Like, the Matron? She could not, like, possibly agree more! Tootsie darling? She, like, thinks she could think of, like, number 10 for you? Like, is that okay? Like, intonation, too?

Stephanie said...

LOL - I laughed at your comments about that particular news show. I know exactly what your talking about and watch the show myself.
Annoying as it may be - if you move out of LA and watch another morning show - you will find it utterly boring in comparison. We moved out of state for a couple of years, and I don't want to admit it but I kinda missed the show.

Limbic Resonance said...

I have to tell you - I am sitting at the laptop, reading your blog...and I hear my husband (who is sitting here beside me watching So You Think You Can Dance with me...bless his heart) say "uh oh, the throat clearer...are you blogging about me?" After I was done laughing I assured him it was someone else's list (but I agree!!)

Texan Mama said...

Okay, I have another one. I really hate the "Expletives-are-part-of-my-normal-vocabulary" people. Like, Me: I went to see that movie. Did you like it?
Him: Oh yeah. That Sh** was F***ikng great. I'm thinking, what is wrong with you? Did you just get out of college? I didn't even kick you in the junk and you have to use the f-bomb? come on.

dkuroiwa said...

Okay...to be honest...I am guilty of a few of the things you listed, but am trying to work on them.
Here, Japanese people have this annoying habit of going "ummm ummm ummm" as you are talking. I asked someone why they do that and the reason was, they want you to know that they are listening and following what you are saying. Nope...don't need it...makes me nuts...it's just really bothering me!!

I too, am a very shy girl, disguised as someone who is not. I really have to work on it sometimes...people are very confused when they are around me for long periods of time...just a part of my mystic!!

Joy! said...

Too funny. But some one these no doubt have actual reasons for happening. For instance, I am so visually sensitive, that if I am forced to look at someone while talking, I cannot remember what I am trying to say. Visual trumps all. So, yeah, I have to look off into space to talk so I don't get distracted. It's not that I can't look at you when *you* are talking.

Anonymous said...

"It's like...", "I was like...","I was all...", "He was all..."

Learn to speak people!

Colleen said...

I'm bad about #1, usually only because I'm attempting (poorly) to sympathize/empathize, or even let that person know they don't have it quite as bad. I'm sure I do it when I'm not trying to build someone up, too...that's the bad thing about habits, huh?

The Irreverent One said...

Love this list. I would like to contribute #11: Replacing "well" with "so". This person responds to your questions, starting each reply with "so" instead of something like "well". Example: Interviewee: "We climbed Mt. Everest without oxygen."
Interviewer: "That must have been difficult. What did you have to do to overcome hypoxia?"
Interviewee: "So we took shorter steps and carried less equipment."
This habit makes the person sound like they're ignoring your question, but answering it anyway. Or like they're continuing their anecdote after an impolite interruption.
After someone asks a question, using "well," tells them they're considering your question and formulating a thoughful response.
Have you noticed this?

Melissa Mancia said...

Hi! I'm starting an English Conversation club and I was looking for some good and bad habits we have in a conversation. I think you have a special gift for compositions...
I loved your blog, thank you for posting it :)