Social Question


When someone is telling you something, do you engage them in what they are saying? Or do you start your own similar story?

Asked by RANGIEBABY (2097points) July 13th, 2010

Example: they are telling you about their injury in an accident, do you inquire about this or that about them or their accident. Or do you tell them about an accident or something similar you had?

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38 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Both and I will even make something up if I have to! See there was the time I wasn’t watching where I was going and….

trailsillustrated's avatar

after hearing about theirs and asking all kinds of questions. otherwise it’s known as ‘talking over’ someone and really irritating

gailcalled's avatar

I hate that. Let me tell you about my latest surgery.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I listen. mainly because if they want to hear about what happened to me in a way that might help them, they’ll ask. Most people, bless, aren’t concerned about you and your issues in times like that.

MacBean's avatar

Listen first, then offer tales of similar experiences. I can’t stand it when people interrupt a story with their own. I’m happy to listen, but I was talking first, dammit!


@MacBean Yes I agree. I especially hate it when you say something and they try to one up you. Like mine is bigger or worse than yours. I have a sister like that. If I have a sliver, she will have a 2×4 stuck in her finger. :)

janbb's avatar

This is occasionally one of my few failings and I am trying to work on it before the 10.4 release.

tinyfaery's avatar

I think people take “overtalkers” the wrong way. Sure, sometimes it might be about one-upmanship, but mostly I think people just like to talk about themselves. People like to share.

Personally, I have a problem reciprocating conversation. Most people have to goad me into talking. Some times I appreciate being interrupted. It takes the pressure of of me.


@tinyfaery I agree that mostly people just like to talk about themselves. Everybody thinks their stories are more important than someone else for some reason. I had a neighbor that use to come over and she would talk and talk about these people that lived in her old town. I never met them and didn’t want to meet them, but she would talk to me with their first names like I knew them. She was so irritating and boring, I would deliberately talk over her as I made my way to the door.

whitenoise's avatar

I would refer to persons that always seem to take over stories as “persons that always have their dogs die more”.

Nevertheless…. however dislike it I may, I find myself doing it as well every now and then.

Aster's avatar

At least acknowledge what they’ve said. To ignore it is very rude and insensitive. Just make a comment or something before you start in with your Own story.

josie's avatar

Always let them tell their story before you tell yours. You learn more about them before you have to decide what to reveal about yourself. I do not mean this in a sneaky paranoid or manipulative way, but the the truth is, until you know somebody, you don’t know them. So you might as well give yourself the benefit of knowing them first.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Ask questions.
Listen some more.
Engage them some more.
Then decide…should I share a similar story? Or will it be sold to the “National Enquirer” for a pretty sum when I am married to John Cusack?

I must think of my future, after all. :)

BoBo1946's avatar

one of my pet peeve….i listen…but, it is very irratating when someone does that! Especially, your s/o!


One of my pet peeves is when they appear to be listening to your story about 5 brothers you met in Texas, and then say, “how many brothers are there?” Or “where did you meet them?”

AmWiser's avatar

I once had a co-worker that everything—and I mean everything, some one else went through or had, she would butt in with her story about having or went through the same thing. I swear it drove me crazy. I swore I would never be like that and to this day, I’m not. I will listen to a person for as long as they need. My mind might wander a bit, but I am still listening. Sometimes its just good to have a person just listen.


@AmWiser I didn’t know you knew my sister.

YARNLADY's avatar

One of my most regretful faults is an apparent inability to control my talking. I often find myself talking over others, and it feels like a compulsion. I have a very hard time trying to restrain it. Some of my favorite people are those who can keep right on talking, and not be bothered by it.


@YARNLADY You mean like the news people. They all talk over each other and nobody can hear anything. I get so irritated when they do that, I just turn them off. You would think someone would tell them the viewers are not getting anybody’s viewpoint, because you are all going at once.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I am trying hard to improve. There is some room left to go.

Jude's avatar

The person budding in and telling their own story, that would be my brother. Every ailment that you’ve suffered, well, guess what? He’s gone through the same thing (broke your broke? That happened to him 6 months ago. Threw up today? He threw up, yesterday. Was up all night coughing? He was up the other night with a cough. My sister said that she’s going to start talking about hot flashes soon (menopause) and wait and see what he says…

He drives me nuts.

le_inferno's avatar

If someone interrupts me with her experience, I just continue my story when she’s done. I notice other people do the same when I interrupt them. We comment on what the other had to say, then continue our side, and so on.

stardust's avatar

I listen to their story. I’ll usually ask a few questions and such. Then if I have a similar story, I’ll share it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

For me then it depends on the company. If it’s old friends then we generally go around exchanging stories and points of view, it’s our sharing thing and to my knowledge no one takes offense. If it’s me one on one with someone then I try to pay attention and respect when something is more than “just talk”.

YARNLADY's avatar

@RANGIEBABY This chatty news delivery on TV has just about turned me off TV news. They sound like those idiots women on The View.


@YARNLADY Do you actually watch those idiot women on the view? Honestly, they are the worst. The pitch of their voices are annoying, what they are saying is annoying, well I only watched them about 2 times. Could not stand them.

YARNLADY's avatar

@RANGIEBABY No, just accidentally in passing


@YARNLADY and keep passing hey? What good does it do for anyone to talk on top of anyone. The only one that knows what they are saying is themselves, and they already know that. I have almost turned off the news all together, they give me a headache trying to understand what each of them is saying.
When someone interrupts me like that, I just stop, gently cross my arms and give a little huff and look right at them. If they continue to finish, then I don’t remark, I just start with, “as I was saying” and finish my story.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Some people have a competitive bone in their body, and they use it in situations like this. I’ve never experienced it, that I know of, but it’s sometimes used in movies and television shows as a form of humor.

Two women in our family, as well as several friends, usually have a similar personal story to share. They don’t interrupt, they ask questions along the way, and then share their story. They are also the ones that inquire about the situation at a later time . They relate and care.

Some people interrupt. Maybe they can’t wait to share; maybe I’ve gone on too long. I just stop and let them talk. And I usually don’t go back to what I was saying unless they ask.

I do have a terrible habit of finishing someone’s sentence if there is a long pause. Some respond with, ”Exactly!”, while others will scowl and say, “Nooo,...” and finish their thought.

anartist's avatar

I usually try to get comfortable with people by listening to their story fully, asking developmental Qs, and lay myself back. But i will eventually respond with a similar episode if I have one. If I notice that I have too many, I stop telling them and just ask more Qs.

MaryW's avatar

I listen and ask questions. Sometimes to make their story more clear or interesting. Sometimes only to be polite. I will tell them a similar story if it is relevant to their enjoyment or question back or my need to add my experience.
With family we all interupt and talk over and finish each others sentences or say yeah before a sentence is finished and continue on the thread and laugh alot. It is somewhat overwhelming to others when we 6 siblings get together.

ninjacolin's avatar

@tinyfaery said: “Personally, I have a problem reciprocating conversation. Most people have to goad me into talking. Some times I appreciate being interrupted. It takes the pressure of of me.”

We have this in common. I would almost rather be interrupted in vocal conversation. Almost. The fact is, I wish I wasn’t so shy about expressing myself at length. (not a huge problem on fluther, you may have noticed) Anyway, it’s interesting you should say this, lady. I’ve never realized it so plainly about myself. (i hope this doesn’t count as competing. I’m just sharing. On that note, I think every case is different. Sometimes interruption can be more like a dance between two people with excellent chemistry)


@ninjacolin Don’t feel alone. I actually suffered with this malaise until I was 50 years old. I spent most of my time hiding from people for fear they may talk to me. I was socially inept. I spoke to my doctor about it and he said it was quite common and gave me a very mild antidepressant. I can’t believe the difference it has made in my life. Seriously, a huge difference for the good.

ninjacolin's avatar

jesus! did you just recommend a pill to me?
dude, i’m aware of the issue and I’ll have it resolved within a few months. no pill required :P
haha, no real attitude intended, just playin’ but if i’m wrong about this i’ll let you know!.. for now, i should let you know that i’m not wrong: this is a character flaw, not a biological limitation. i’ve learned that you can grow character naturally with effort.

NaturallyMe's avatar

I may do both, but i always try to let them finish the discussion they started first, because i feel it’s rude to interrupt someone in the middle of their story just so that you can make the whole conversation about you again. Hehe.


@ninjacolin No, I am not recommending anything, just telling you one of my inner most issues I had. Yes you probably can, but by 50 if I hadn’t done, I most likely wouldn’t. My issue was extreme shyness, to the point it caused havoc in my life, stopped me from going places, etc. I tried, believe me I tried with everything I had.

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