It’s easier to be an annoying conversationalist than it is to be a skilled one.
Who wants to listen to the other person when you could instead talk endlessly about yourself, or pretend you’re listening when you’re really scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed?
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most cringe-worthy — so you know exactly what to avoid in your next conversation.
1. Looking at your phone
“Basic courtesies people! Someone is trying to tell you something they are passionate about or how their day went and they chose you because they like you; the least you could do is give them your undivided attention.
“Your phone and the memes aren’t going anywhere. It can wait.”
Indeed, a 2015 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 89% of cell phone owners said they used their phone during the last social activity they attended.
At the same time, 82% of adults said that, when people use their phones in social settings, it can hurt the conversation.
2. Trying to one-up the other person
On Quora, Eric Nyaga writes:
“If someone shares with you an experience he has had, never counter it with your own or that of someone you know.
“E.g. If someone tells of a promotion at work then you also tell them you’ve been made an executive director in such and such organisation. Many people find it annoying but won’t tell you.”
3. Constantly interrupting the other person
“Probably all of us know someone who does that,” Peter T Mayer writes on Quora, “and it is really, really annoying.”
Give the other person the space to share freely.
4. Talking to someone while they’re wearing headphones
That’s according to Quora user Indu KS, who adds that when someone takes out just one earbud in order to hear what you’re saying, “it is a sign that they aren’t really interested in a small talk or any kind of human interaction.
At least not from you, and at least not at the moment.
5. Relating everything back to your own experience
So says Redditor DeathHaze420, adding:
“I understand that the general flow of a conversation is back and forth. But I hate people who let you tell half a story before relating some [minuscule] detail back to them.”
The Redditor is onto something — as Dale Carnegie wrote in his 1936 bestseller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the secret to making people like you is simply to listen and encourage other people to talk about themselves.
6. Voicing an opinion on everything
An anonymous Redditor writes: “The less they know, the more their opinion is specific, the more they feel entitled to shout it at the world’s face.”
This doesn’t mean you have to stay completely neutral — it’s helpful to share your thoughts and feelings on topics you care about. But you’ll wind up alienating the other person if you feel the need to feign passion about every single issue that comes up.
As an anonymous Redditor says, “It’s super annoying because I know they’re trying to impress people and make themselves sound way more important than they are.”
8. Using unnecessarily fancy language
“I hate when people use really big words to sound smarter than they actually are,” AdinBacon writes on Reddit. “Especially when they use the words incorrectly. It makes me beleaguered.”
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