General Question

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Is there a name for this sort of behavior? (Details follow).

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11268points) August 7th, 2010

I know this person very well. We aren’t friends, we are acquaintances, but we do see each other often because circumstances often throw us together.

It is the strangest thing…and I am not sure what to classify this (aside from being really rude). We will engage in conversation. He will say something to me and when I begin to answer…as soon as I begin to answer his question, he will turn around and start talking about something else! He does not wait for me to finish.

“Hi Rhad….I’ve been working on the Foster account and it seems to be going really well. Then, I think I’m going to take a break and go to Spain for a week. How about you…?”

“Oh, well…I’ve been thinking about——”

“Oh, look at that lovely red sportscar…I always fancied that sportscar. I almost got one when I was in my 20’s and always regretted that. Maybe I will find a way to (blah blah blah)....” for another ten minutes.

“Hey Rhad…do you have any recommendations for a good hardy flower for my garden? I used to grow violas, but they don’t seem to be working anymore. What do you think?”

“Well, yes…I really think that——”

“Oh…look at that guy! He looks like Frank doesn’t he? Remember Frank from the pub at Cardiff? Wow, what a resemblance…(blah blah blah)” for another ten minutes or twenty forgetting completely that I am even there and that I was supposed to answer a question.

Folks…this is almost every time. This is not once or twice. As soon as I begin to answer a question or start a conversation…he will look away and find something to distract him and start talking about that. It is unbelievable. At first, I thought I was imagining it, but I actually began to make a note of it. I honestly think there must be some sort of kink in his psychology.

Has anyone ever experienced this? Does anyone have an idea psychologically what might be going on?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. He is not “hyper” or anything like that…but he is a “Type A” personality.

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27 Answers

marinelife's avatar

He might have adult attention deficit disorder.

He might be a misogynist.

Have you ever confronted him about it? Said, “Hey, wait a minute. You asked me a question, and I was speaking?” Might as well. It certaionly would not be any ruder than he is.

MrItty's avatar

He might just be a self-centered jerk. Does he do it to anyone else, or just you?

Your_Majesty's avatar

An egomaniac person.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, it’s called just plain RUDE! lol

My number one complaint about so many peoples self centered lack of presence and listening skills.

No attention, no acknowledgment or feedback, it is maddening!

Sometimes I am bold and direct in sayng back, ” excuse me, but..I wasn’t finished, or, ” to finish what I was saying”.... usually the direct approach gets them to focus, brings their attention back to what you were saying.

Happened to me the other day and I chose to just let it go, not worth the effort.

Yes, egomaniac or worse comes to mind! lol

nikipedia's avatar

I was also going to say ADD.

gravity's avatar

If not Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, then I would say he is doing this to make you feel put down in a sense, as if he doesn’t even desire to hear your reply. Some people will put others down or purposefully shun them so they feel more important themself. This would be due to a lack of self esteem.

I say call him on it. It is very rude if it is something he can control but chooses not to.

Facade's avatar

ADD was my guess too. Maybe he doesn’t know he’s doing it.
I tend to do this when having a conversation with my SO. I think it’s because I already know what he’s going to say before he says it. I don’t do it to be rude, and most of the time I’m not aware of it. I have to consciously remind myself to let him finish his thought, even if he is talking slowly (Ugh! Slow people!).
Perhaps you could bring this habit to his attention?

BarnacleBill's avatar

All of the above. I have ADD. There is a tendency to anticipate the answer and talk over it. It’s not intentional and can be controlled by awareness of it. If it’s ADD, you can redirect him by touching his arm or putting his hand on his shoulder, making eye contact, and repeating his question using the person’s name, and answering it.

Eye contact is key.

I agree with @gravity, call him on it.

Coloma's avatar

I think that while it is possible a person might have ADD, more often than not it is a lack of attention and not caring, in one ear & out the other and a way to bring the focus back to the other.

If I knew for certain someone was ADD I would take that into consideration, but, I am not big on using labels as excuses for certain traits or behaviors.

It’s like saying someone couldn’t help themsleves in terms of whatever because they were under the influence of alcohol.

I agree, calling someone on this behavior is the best approach, if you care enough, mostly I do not.
I just make a mental note of my observations and usually I am not involved enough with the person for it to really warrent the energy expenditure of a confrontation.

HungryGuy's avatar

It’s called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD). It’s a medical conditon that can be treated. While I generally don’t like to give people an excuse to be rude, it’s largely not his fault. Many people have it to some drgree and live ordinary lives without themselves or others even being aware of it. Most adults with a serious case of it (as your friend) usually learn how to be more “sociable” with age without treatment, but it’s an uphill battle.

john65pennington's avatar

I had this same problem with a lady friend of my wife and i. in addition to all of the above answers, she would break into an answer and ask something entirely different. my wife later learned she had ADD. i really, really tried to resist coming back on her and i did for a while. one day, i finally had had enough and i politely told her “just like it is”. Mary(not real name), “please stop talking. you ask a question or make a comment and then you will not let anyone answer you. you interfere with other peoples conversations and you need to stop and think before you speak”. needless to say, this ticked my wife off beyond belief. wife agreed that Mary had a problem. short end to story….Mary looked for and received help. she is now on track with her life and does not interrupt other peoples conversations.

Your friend needs the same help. either tell him or avoid him to save your sanity.

BarnacleBill's avatar

In going back and reading your question again, if he’s type A and this happens at parties, then most likely he’s using you as a social accessory. (“Look everyone, see. Paul is not here standing alone with a drink in his hand. Popular Paul is appearing to chat up Rhad. Rhad is cool enough to be seen chatting with. ” Paul scans the room “Next.” Paul walks away, leaving Rhad mid-sentence.)

gailcalled's avatar

Inability to control his impulses (several suitable psychiatric labels would apply). Next time he asks, “What do you think,” respond with a question. “Will you listen to what I’m going to say?”

Or choose to listen only. It sounds like he would not be a suitable good friend Treat him as a child or a person with a problem beyond his control.

rebbel's avatar

I have ADD but i sincerely don’t recognize myself in this type of behavior.
I don’t say you do (the ones who answered ADD), but isn’t it a generalisation to think that all ADD’ers behave in this way?
I experience this behavior with a friend of mine, by the way, and it is really annoying and i can feel quite invisible when he doesn’t show the faintest interest into what i am about to say/answer to him.
I am so stunned usually that i can’t concentrate anymore on what he is saying after that that is my ADD rearing its ugly head i suppose…

GeorgeGee's avatar

It could be Asperger’s syndrome. People with Asperger’s tend to be lucid and smart, yet unable to properly read others’ emotions, or have sympathy to their needs.

“The lack of demonstrated empathy is possibly the most dysfunctional aspect of Asperger syndrome.[2] Individuals with AS experience difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity, and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.[1]

Unlike those with autism, people with AS are not usually withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if awkwardly. For example, a person with AS may engage in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic, while misunderstanding or not recognizing the listener’s feelings or reactions, such as a need for privacy or haste to leave.[5] This social awkwardness has been called “active but odd”.[1] This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may appear as disregard for other people’s feelings, and may come across as insensitive.[5]”

BoBo1946's avatar

ADD… Also, it does not mean he is a bad person, etc. Just has a problem that someone close to him needs to bring it too his attention. My guess, would be best, if a close friend or relative needs to bring it too his attention.

Frenchfry's avatar

ADD is what I think too. You might bring it to his attention. He probably does not mean to. does not hurt right? Since you are just acquaintances. or say Let me finish.

skfinkel's avatar

You did not ask this, but how to deal with his behavior…I would not even begin to attempt to answer his question. Just look at him. Just listen. See what he does. Perhaps he will see you, for the very first time.

flo's avatar

Are you asking the question so you can read up on it? Because people’s advice here on how to deal with it might get you the solution faster.

kess's avatar

That is the effects of death upon the mind…

For within death the mind is not able to keep a straight line of thought for any length of period.
It is similar in those we see as mad.

I am sure there are many who does the same things on different occassions. but maybe not as frequent, but never the less the same thing.

perspicacious's avatar

Either extremely rude, or extremely socially challenged.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It is rude. He/she’s treating you as a distraction, almost an appliance to be started and interrupted without regard to the fact you are sentient and deserve some respect.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

I think its just him being rude, or trying to be funny. But that would really tick me off.

BoBo1946's avatar

If the this person has ADD, a medical disorder, would he be rude? just saying!

I’ve always thought it was rude to call a person that is an alcholic, a drunk. Isn’t this a disease caused by a chemical dependency that the person cannot help?

This would make a good question.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

To Everyone…..Thank you for your answers. Yes, I realize that if he does have some sort of medical disorder that he would then, not be rude, or insensitive….he would be exhibiting his condition. And I could hardly call him rude then, could I?

It’s interesting because the two things that came to mind…were mentioned. ADD and Aspergers…with Aspergers sort of at the top of my thoughts, simply because he is not “hyper”, and usually ADD exhibits in very nervous hyper energy (right? Maybe not?). He is nervous and Type A, but not restless in that way. He is able to function when he is working on a project. He cannot suss visual cues. I have noticed this at functions (we belong to some of the same organizations.) He will not “see” someone who is becoming bored with what he is saying…or when someone is attempting to leave and is fidgeting. He doesn’t “see” that as I might. Twice, my friend and I had to literally take him by the arm and lead him out the door while he was protesting. “No…Jill and Frank aren’t tired. They were still talking to us!” While Jill and Frank were yawning and their eyes were closing. He talks at you, not to you. And it is almost impossible to deliver constructive criticism. He absolutely goes ballistic and takes it as a very personal attack. (“I was just wondering if you finished the Mayer account yesterday?” Answer: (angrily)“WHY?? Of course I did! Did you think I wasn’t going to? Or what?!!” My answer: “Uh no…I was just asking if it was done so I could file it.” Sheesh.

I am so grateful for your answers. It makes sense that it might be ADD or highly functioning Aspergers. Not that I can do anything about that….“Uh, hi…I think you have a problem…you may have ADD or Aspergers…could you get checked?”

Not in this universe.

Once again…your answers were just fantastic…and I am sending you lurve. Lots of it!

woodcutter's avatar

sounds like some passive aggression going on right there.

GeorgeGee's avatar

You might subtly point him to an article such as this one about Michael Burry, a billionare investor who also has Asperger’s.
He might see himself in some of the descriptions. Many Asperger’s sufferers are quite successful.

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