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Kardamom's avatar

Do you have any friends that try to second guess everything you say?

Asked by Kardamom (31095points) June 16th, 2015

I have a dear friend, let’s call her Alison. Alison is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, but because she has so much information floating around in her head, I think she sometimes tries to anticipate what I’m going to say, and often she’s wrong.

It can be very annoying to have a conversation with her when she’s constantly filling in the blanks before I’ve said what I’m going to say, or when I have to say, “No, it was X not Y, or no it was Dave not Steve, or no we went on Saturday, not Tuesday.”

Here’s a typical conversation between us.

Kardamom: Hey there Alison, did I tell you that I tried to see…

Alison: Mandy, you actually saw her? That’s so cool I haven’t seen her since I moved back to town.

Kardamom: No, I was going to say that I talked to my sister in law…

Alison: Karen, right? How is your nephew? I haven’t seen your brother or your folks since I got back.

Kardamom: No, her name is Carolyn.

Alison: But you got to hang out with all of them them. That’s so nice. I can’t wait to get together with them next time they come over to your house.

Kardamom: I didn’t get together with them. I just talked to Carolyn on the phone…

Alison: It’s nice that you get to visit them when they come over to your house all the time, though right? I’d love to get together with them the next time they are over at your house. I haven’t seen them in so long.

Kardamom: No actually, they hardly ever get the chance to come up, that’s what I was going to tell you..

Alison: But everybody’s doing OK right? No more hospital visits? Everything’s back to normal right?

Kardamom: Uh, no actually…

These conversations usually happen when I haven’t talked to her for a week or more. She and her family just moved back to our town, after having been gone for almost 5 years, although we have kept in touch during that whole time when she was gone. But it seems like although she kind of knows all of the details and players (she actually knows all of these people) she seems to anticipate that I’m going to spit out a specific bit of information, and it is often wrong, so then I have to go back and correct all of the details.

This friend is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, she could probably build a car in her living room, while at the same time cooking and planning for a dinner party that she was going to throw on the same day, while in the meantime she could talk someone through the set-up of a new computer or smart TV over the phone, while at the same time, changing her baby’s diaper and giving her dog a pill. She’s smart, but sometimes I think she has so much knowledge and information in her head, that she can’t focus on one thing at a time, so she makes assumptions about what I might be going to say, and it often gets exasperating.

She’s also one of the kindest and most considerate people I’ve ever met. She would do anything to help a friend or family member, even if it means going way out of her way with her time, skills and money. This is not someone who I want to hurt in any way.

Any advice? Do you have any friends like this?

Side note: the funny part is that I have 2 friends like this, and they both know each other. You should see the hilarity that ensues when both of them are talking to each other.

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12 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think my husband sees me like this. Maybe not as extreme as your friend, but I’m trying to close my mouth and let him finish sentences more. Lol. One difference is I’m usually right, but he still wants the chance to get his sentences out.

With my girlfriends who are like this I don’t care. We all run all over each other’s sentences and move the conversation along once we realize the other person is reading our minds.

janbb's avatar

I have a friend who does that and I have been accused of it myself – justifiably. I read in a Deborah Tannen book that it is called a “high involvement” style of communication. It’s not meant to be rude but is partly a cultural style. I am Jewish, my Ex was English: he hated the fact that I wouldn’t let him tell his whole story before jumping in.

Coloma's avatar

Not exactly but I know what you mean and I am sure it is frustrating at times. Maybe just gently tell her, ask her, to please let you complete your thoughts/sentences before jumping to conclusions. If she is mature she should be able to offer an apology and start monitoring herself with some self awareness moments. haha
I have one friend that is more the assumptive type and often tells me things I already know.

Even if I tell her I have already researched something she tends to go on and on and will send me more info. She sounds like your friend in the sense that she too is very bright and has a wealth of knowledge about many things. but hellooooo, so do I. haha
I usually just shrug it off but it can be annoying.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Smart people often have a habit of trying to move the conversation along at the rate things proceed in their head. If this woman is really your friend, you should tell her of her annoying quirk (you can bet she’s heard it before), then suggest she work hard on the patience involved with listening.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t know…how would she react if you printed your details out and showed them to her?

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

My husband does this to me too and I’m pretty sure I probably do it back. We’re so familiar with each other and our individual thought patterns that we unconsciously fill in the blanks when we’re having a conversation. Mostly we don’t annoy each other, but there are occasions when one or the other guesses wrong and it can be downright annoying. I’m a cranky cow so I get shirty when it happens. My husband is less cranky so he just corrects me. Advice for what to do? If you’re good friends, just talk to her about it. I wouldn’t do it when you’re cranky about it. Wait for a quiet moment and explain that it irritates you and see if she’s even aware she’s doing it. If she’s a nice person, and you say she is, I’m sure she’ll try to avoid it in future. It might be difficult if you’re both close and in tune with each other. She may just get too excited and involved in the conversations you’re having.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I myself am guilty of doing that sometimes, although not to the same degree, but I have very clearly annoyed people. Which of course immediately hurts my feelings (because I’m a baby :P) because I wasn’t trying to be rude or annoying.

If your friend is like me, she probably does it most when she’s taking an actual active interest in the conversation. I’d start there with something like “I’m really glad you’re interested in what I’m talking to you about, but I need you to shush for a minute so I can get to the point”, and then laugh a little and make sure she knows you’re not mad, just amused at her quirkiness. I know I handle it okay when people point it out to me – as long as they don’t snap at me or assume it’s because I’m trying to be some kind of know-it-all. In those situations, it genuinely hurts.

Good luck. Hopefully she takes it alright.

Kardamom's avatar

Thanks @everybody. I think @janbb hit the nail on the head and @DrasticDreamer‘s idea might work best for me. I adore this friend and she definitely doesn’t do it to be rude, her mind just runs a mile a minute. I admire her intelligence and wish I had more of that, myself.

JLeslie's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Great point! My husband sometimes says to me, “you aren’t listening to me,” and my response is, “I am
listening, how else can I actively be asking you questions about what you are telling me and finishing your sentences?” He’s right that I can’t be listening if I’m talking, but if I was completely checked out of the conversation I would be saying nothing or just nodding my head with an occasional uh huh to act engaged like he sometimes does to me. Lol.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@JLeslie—Exactly. I love my best friend, but sometimes I find myself checking out of her conversations because she can go on about a TV show (or something similar that I have no interest in) and the only thing I’ll say is “yeah” and “uh huh” which is usually a clear indication that my mind is wandering. lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have a friend who is extremely excited about her hobby of furniture painting. She’s very gifted, no doubt, but she can talk for an hour about this piece and where she got it, and how she decided to do what she did and on and on and on.

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