WE HAD A COUPLE over for dinner the other night—friends of friends—and at first, the woman seemed charming.Then she seemed to be sort of monopolizing the conversation.Then we realized she NEVER SHUT UP.
And then we noticed her husband’s head cocked at a weird angle. He had fallen asleep at the dinner table. Lucky guy.What’s shocking is not that some people talk too much. What’s shocking is that they don’t seem to pick up on even the most obvious cues—a passed-out spouse, for instance.
It turns out there are two basic types of over-talkers. The first actually work at being entertaining because they feed off our appreciation. Whether they succeed is up to the listener. The second group is made up of those who fear that if you stop listening, they stop living. It’s a problem psychologists ascribe to everything from loneliness to insecurity to arrogance. University of Texas professor of psychology Art Markman, author of the book Smart Change, says non-stop talkers “need social interaction to survive, so they’re just looking to plug into somebody and don’t care who it is. They smell social interaction and go into a feeding frenzy.”