339. I Talk Too Much

Update: I just realized that I’ve already written a post about wasting words. Do you see what I mean? I really do talk too much!

Besides death or divine intervention, nothing in the universe can stop me once I start rambling.

I was reminded of this a few days ago. At the time, I was explaining to coworkers how a gerund looks remarkably like a chicken when diagrammed in a sentence. (This fact was pointed out to me by a college professor.) The English language fascinates me, and I’m greatly amused by this quirk of sentence diagramming. I was enthusiastic in sharing my amusement with my coworkers.

My gerund-chicken was met with one or two blank faces, and I realized I was babbling. It probably wasn’t the first time that day. Ah, well. No harm, no fowl. (Pun intended. I’m so, so sorry.)

I ramble all the time, and most people aren’t blunt or brave enough to ask me to stop. A few politely change the subject. Many suffer in silence. If I may, for the sake of illustration, borrow and edit a couple of old comic panels from Gigi D.G. of Cucumber Quest fame: many of my conversations go something like this.

The greatest difference between this illustration and real life is that I hardly ever chat with one-eyed war veterans.

The greatest difference between this illustration and real life is that I hardly ever chat with one-eyed war veterans.

I’m exaggerating a bit for comedic effect, yet the truth is that I talk too much. As an introvert, I generally keep to myself around other people. However, the very second a conversation turns to something that interests me, I begin to talk… and eventually to babble.

One of the things that troubles me most about my lamentable loquacity is that it afflicts my nearest and dearest. Most of the people who meet me will never hear me ramble. It’s my family and friends (along with a few coworkers and acquaintances) who put up with my enthusiastic floods of words. It’s when I feel comfortable around someone that I let down my guard, and when my guard is down that I talk too much.

That said, you should take it as a compliment if I ramble at you… I guess?

Anyhowz, I have three points to make about my tendency to talk too much.

1. Writing is awesome because it allows me to moderate my own words.

Probably my favorite thing about writing is the freedom it gives me to find exactly the right words and phrase them precisely the way I want. Written words can be revised. If I begin to ramble in, say, a Facebook message, I can go back and cut out the fluff.

Speaking doesn’t give me that luxury. It represents immediate, irrevocable communication. There is no revising spoken words, except by speaking more. Once a word is spoken, it can’t be deleted. I wish I could revise and moderate my speaking the way I do my writing.

2. Rambling is selfish.

When I ramble about stuff that matters to me, I forget—or worse, ignore—that it might not matter to other people. I disrespect people by demanding their time and attention, airing my own views and opinions, when they’re not interested. Worse, I don’t spend enough time listening to them.

Talking too much is a way of saying, “I don’t care enough about you to listen.”

3. The Bible says some pretty harsh things about talking too much.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Christ says, “I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Yikes.

The Proverbs add quite a few cautions against babbling. “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise,” quoth the author of Proverbs, and later adds, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”

I… suppose I’ll end here, actually. Heaven knows I don’t want to ramble.

11 thoughts on “339. I Talk Too Much

  1. I think rambling is a wonderful method of discerning what’s important to you and where your passions lie. You’re certainly right, it can cause problems or teach lessons about the importance of listening too. I actually find it vastly interesting when I discover the rambling-passion of another person while talking with them. You can almost see the fire that ignites in their eyes as the words suddenly tumble forth like an unstoppable waterfall. Then the key becomes being in the moment and truly listening, giving that person your full attention and hearing them with both ears.

    It’s funny, I feel the opposite that you do about writing. For me, I like writing because it ALLOWS me to ramble, without concern that my audience is bored because if they’re bored they can put the book/blog/whatever down and my feelings aren’t hurt. The people who will want to listen can listen, and those that do not can go their own way. It’s very freeing to me. Of course, that’s probably why you’re a better writer than I, ha ha. That art of editing is the most important one to the craft of writing, and one I just never seem to grasp well… Iiwii, I suppose! (Most of the time when I edit, I add MORE stuff! 😛 [These last two sentences, for example!])

    • You have a patient and generous attitude toward rambling. In my experience, most people are just annoyed by it. 😛

      There are many philosophies of writing. I strive for minimalism, the philosophy of conveying an idea as succinctly as possible. As you can tell I… um… don’t always succeed. :/ All the same, I like to think I ramble less in writing than in speaking!

      • Indeed, it does annoy most people. But then, all I can control is me, so if I’m patient about it then I’m doing what I’m supposed to do! 🙂

  2. As a fellow introvert and writer, I pretty much feel the exact same way about everything you said. Even when I’m writing a comment like this or a Facebook post, I have a tendency to go back and edit, making it perfect. Finding the exact right economy of words. Or sometimes, I decide it’s just not worth sharing and delete the whole thing without posting.

    I do find myself rambling a lot, even with people I don’t know very well. Though I have to feel some level of comfort with them. The closest I come to rambling while writing is when doing NaNoWriMo. Even then, it’s not the whole month, but times that I’m specifically trying to write even faster than the rest of the month (during word wars or other events that require really pushing oneself to crank out words without thinking hardly at all). Going back and reading/revising those sections is almost painful sometimes.

    • It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who obsesses over brevity in writing. I edit and re-edit practically everything I write, however brief or unimportant. I guess I have literary OCD. 😉

  3. On the incredibly rare occasions that I do ramble, I find that I don’t babble for very long as I am awful at explaining things. My ramblings usually end with a trailing “…Well, I don’t explain it well. But it really is interesting.”

    As for writing, I often spend too long trying to think of the right words and am always disappointed when I cannot write nearly as well as the authors I enjoy. I suppose practice would help with that, but I prefer to spend my time reading the ideas of others rather than waste someone’s time with my own thoughts.

    • Reading is actually fantastic practice for writing and speaking. It builds up vocabulary, improves spelling, introduces new ideas, and imparts an intuitive understanding of things like grammar and syntax.

      I seriously doubt sharing your thoughts would be a waste of anyone’s time. 🙂 At the very least, it would be good practice for writing and speaking!

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