1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Why do people think I want to listen?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Miskatonic, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    For some reason I either have an appearance or demeanor that invites people to want to talk to me about their inane, uninteresting bullshit. The worst is when people start talking with no hint from me that I'm interested in listening and they start talking about family life, their kids, etc. I just want to tell them to piss off and that I could care less about them or their lives. This old timer at work must have talked to me for an hour, trying to give me the benefit of his "wisdom", however it was just a bunch of tall tales and outright lies that he was telling in order to make him look like the most "interesting man in the world".

    Does this happen frequently to anyone else?
  2. MineOwnKing

    MineOwnKing Maester

    I see this happen with a few of the closest people I know.

    My brother is short and handsome, and I think some people are drawn to that as nonthreatening.

    I have a tall friend that's not exactly blessed with good looks, that also seems to draw people in.

    My wife was born a happy person and that seems to draw people as well.

    Some of it is appearance, some of it is the way they talk and the life experiences they've had.

    If a woman is not too hard to look at and sports a chesty top, then she's probably going to get hit on a lot. Unless she frowns all the time. Nothing is a bigger turn off than a pretty woman that frowns or bitches about everything. (or smokes) When I see a young woman smoking I want to put my foot up her backside.

    Not sure if you fit into any of those slots.
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    It happens to me all the time, though, and in all honesty, just as often I am likely to be the random conversation sparker... I have no shame I will [try to] talk to anyone.
    I love it when someone unexpected talks to me.
    You get to see a little glimpse inside a world you otherwise wouldn't know about.
    This can be character creating gold...
    If I'm ever caught in a corner with a bore, I try the Baron Munchausen approach and come up with more and more outrageous "stories" until they give in and walk away.
    If that doesn't work, use your phone to Fake-Call yourself and excuse yourself because the urgent THING you have to deal with.
    CelestialGrace likes this.
  4. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    I'm an introvert and a misanthrope to boot so it's extremely ironic. I'm not socially awkward by any stretch of the imagination, just have a very low tolerance for drawn out conversations with uninteresting people. 5 minutes is OK, after that it starts to become unbearable.

    Pop culture and other similar topics are just asinine unless you are talking with friends who have a similar taste in entertainment, culture, etc.

    I would say the religious types that are actively trying to convert you, but in a very sloppy covert manner, are on the top of the list of worst people to talk to. I don't care about your religion or your politics, don't start talking about them if I haven't given you a hint that I'm interested in conversing.

    I just avoid people the majority of the time if I'm not out running errands or at work.
  5. KC Trae Becker

    KC Trae Becker Troubadour

    Some people will find someone to talk at whenever they don't have someone talking at them. Being an introvert or non talker makes you a target. It's a battle for air time and you're not fighting for it, so they win and enjoy thinking out loud.

    I had a severe speech defect as a child that forced me to keep practically silent until I was about 8. The habit stayed with me until about 16. You'd be amazed what secrets adults will tell to silent little girls.

    I suggest you take action rather than get frustrated. You've got several options:
    1. Take it as an opportunity, as CupofJoe suggests, to observe human nature and create characters.
    2. Tune them out.
    3. Shut them down politely with a book or earbuds as signals.
    4. Ask them to leave you in peace.
    I'm sure there are other options, too, but this is a start.

    I personally find other people's loud music the worst. They're not even getting an often much needed verbal airing out. All they are doing is killing the quiet which I usually value highly. I have too many important thoughts running through my head to have beats and screeches drowning it out. But nobody respects being asked to turn their music down. What's up with that?
    TheCatholicCrow and MineOwnKing like this.
  6. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    I get this a lot. It might be because we're introverted - we're better listeners and people pick up on that.

    LOL - I usually wear a crucifix. When I used to take public transportation there was always someone that wanted to talk (usually the older people) would take this as an invitation to tell me why they're no longer in the Church or X religion is better. Ordinarily I might not mind a discussion like that but it's hardly the kind of conversation I'm prepared for at 6 AM.

    I also occasionally like to cover my hair with a scarf which I guess also confuses people - so I get the double whammy from Protestants either trying to convert me away from Catholicism or "save me" from Islam. They always wanted to "take a moment to talk to me about their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". LOL they were in for a rude awakening when I took them up on the offer. Honestly, I found those incidents to be slightly amusing but I'm a bit of a troll at heart so that was probably part of it.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't mind discussing what I'm knitting (or whatever) but if I'm reading a newspaper or a book I'd kind of like to read it- not discuss it. I think part of it was that I am generally a patient person and don't have it in me to tell someone I'm not interested in talking. (At least for me) it was probably also a generational divide as well - I think for young(er) people it's more taboo to talk to strangers but that's definitely not the case for the older generation(s) who prefer talking to strangers in person to rather than strangers online.

    I think there are some places that I expect it more like in a coffee shop or on the bench at the bus stop, in the church parking lot or when I'm volunteering or something but I (unless I know you) I don't want to hear about your political beliefs or whatever.

    When possible, I find that headphones (and staying home/being a hermit) works best.

    But if all else fails, smile politely and nod your head at appropriate intervals.
    Unless they're creepy ... my sister once got a marriage proposal from a stranger on the city bus -LA is a weird place.
  7. Lunaairis

    Lunaairis Sage

    I find it funny its always the introverts. I like taking the time (when this happens) to figure out how I could use this persons life experience for my own characters. But when I'm not interested what so ever, I just tell them right off that I'm kind of busy and would rather not talk at the moment.
  8. MineOwnKing

    MineOwnKing Maester

    But nobody respects being asked to turn their music down. What's up with that?

    It can depend on what people are doing and the level of courtesy.

    Construction workers like to listen to loud music to keep themselves in the groove of working. But then if you have one crew that likes country and another that likes heavy metal, nobody is happy.

    Some people play music loud just to be assholes.

    I think just being a writer, makes writers internalize things differently and music can get in the way of all the musing.

    I enjoy loud music, sometimes while writing.

    But what I find frustrating for me is that I enjoy music, and I enjoy a wide variety of music depending on my mood swings. Music is important to me as an artist.

    However, the people that I attract as friends and lovers always seem to have one thing in common, that is, they could care less about music.

    They might enjoy some soft music in the background, but they never actually sit and listen to music like I do. In my opinion I have smart friends with a lot of stuff bouncing around in their minds, but they're not writers.

    I think writers are different. And I think music is more important to some than others.
  9. Tom

    Tom Istar

    People talk to me all the time. I don't really know why--I'm generally kind of surly, and dislike being engaged in conversation by total strangers. Maybe it's the fact that I have kind of an open face, which makes me look more approachable than most people.

    I'm an introvert, so having random people come up to me and strike up a conversation is not my cup of tea. Usually when I'm at school or in other public places, or taking public transport, I wear earbuds--even if I'm not listening to music. It usually deters most who would try to talk.

    However, there are always those people who just start talking, even if you're reading or have your earbuds in. In the case of people like that, I just wait a few minutes, while acting as uninterested as possible, until I have a chance to make an excuse to get away from them. At school, I usually say I need to see my financial adviser or some other such BS. On the subway or the bus, though, I can't just escape like that, so then I usually nod and smile absently and occasionally supply a noncommittal comment until whoever's talking gets the hint and shuts up. Or until I reach my stop. Whichever one comes first.

    If all else fails, I pretend I just received a phone call. It's such a simple trick, but it really does work.
  10. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    I think sometimes people who like to just yap latch on to anyone who gives the indication that they're listeners. For me, an introvert, I don't mind listening if they are entertaining or have something of substance to say. When I was younger, I use to just sit and take it, but now, I look for spots to call people on the BS. I'm polite about it, but I disagree just enough to make them think twice about how much they can lay it on before it turns into an outright disagreement.

    If that doesn't work, I turn the wise-ass in me to 11 and start poking fun at all the stuff they tell me. I figure if they don't stop, at least I get to entertain myself and practice making another person uncomfortable.
  11. Russ

    Russ Istar

    To a large degree people are evolved to be social, very social. Such conversations which have little deep meaning are thought to have significant roles in our evolutionary history. I won't bore you with the details.

    In some cultures such conversation is considered the norm and basic politeness. I can't speak for where you live, but where I live people will talk to you about the weather, or traffic or whatever, in public places all the time. It is very common and considered completely normal.

    You could always consider making an honest effort to moderate your hostility to harmless conversation.
  12. Tom

    Tom Istar

    It's common here to discuss the weather or local sports or whatever in public, and I actually enjoy engaging in that type of conversation. Bemoaning the state of the Buffalo Bills is a favorite way to strike up conversation with strangers. Small talk is a great way to get to know new people and hear about new things, or get in the know about something that's happened recently.

    It's when people come up to me while I'm obviously busy and start spouting off their life story that I get annoyed. It's like, can you not see that I'm concentrating on something else and either can't or don't want to talk to you?
  13. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    Small talk is the equivalent of Chinese water torture for me. I'd rather have my teeth pulled one at a time without anesthesia.

Share This Page