While standing in line at the bank today, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of the two women standing in front of me.
The first lady asked the second lady how she was, and the second lady replied by saying that she had been hospitalized for three days the week before.
The first lady reacted by saying, “Oh, that’s too bad. Have I told you we’re set to leave for Greece this week?”
She then spoke non-stop until the bank teller called her number.
This scenario triggered a memory of someone I loathed back in college.
Lets call her Claire.
Claire was the worst conversationalist in the world.
Every attempt at conversation with Claire was met with constant interruption and the need to redirect the spotlight to her.
“Hello” and “How are you?” were just formalities Clare used as conversation starters.
She didn’t care to listen to their responses.
Much like the lady in the bank, she would ask how I was, and follow up with what seemed like hours of self related banter.
It didn’t matter what I wanted to discuss; be it a new boyfriend or a personal crisis.
None of it mattered to Claire.
The minute I said more than two sentences, Claire would interrupt and say, “Okay, enough about you. Lets talk about me.”
To this day, I still wonder why I put up with the likes of Claire.
Perhaps it was because her brother was hot, or the fact that her mother corrected our English papers.
I don’t know.
What I do know was that having a conversation with her was like having one with Winnie the Pooh.
(It’s all about me, me, me!)
But back to the women at the bank…
Their conversation reminded me how the world is filled with conversation hogs; a term that communication experts identify as “a person who monopolizes a conversation.”
If you’ve ever been held hostage by a conversation hog, you know there’s no way to get a word in edgewise.
Because conversation hogs don’t converse.
Instead, they corner their victims and force them to listen to their monologues.
They occasionally ask questions, but it’s all a ruse.
They don’t give a rat’s ass what the reply is when it’s not coming from them.
They talk a mile a minute, and if by any chance the other person manages to squeeze in a word, they lay in wait for the tiniest pause in the conversation.
At which point, they jump back in with such force, you don’t know what hit you.
A few minutes into their monologue, you feel your head start to spin, your ears start to buzz, and your eyes start to droop.
No, you’re not suffering a stroke.
It’s worse. You’re undergoing the effects of a conversation hog attack.
You’ll feel the effects immediately; it’s almost like being bit by a scorpion.
You start to feel lethargic and know it’s only a matter of minutes before you’re dead.
Dead of boredom.
As your eyes continue to glaze over, and your tongue starts to feel thick, you wonder why you didn’t see it coming; you ask yourself how you could’ve prevented this from happening.
At this point, don’t waste your last vital minutes questioning what you could’ve done, and instead, think of how you can still break free from the conversation hog’s clutches.
The lucky few who have survived the onslaught report that the first two minutes are critical.
If you suspect you’re in the presence of a conversation hog, you must find an excuse to exit, and put as much distance as you can between the both of you.
Do not attempt to engage in verbal or physical altercation of any kind.
Do not provoke the conversation hog.
His or her sting is lethal. I repeat, lethal.
Instead, the second the conversation hog stops to take a breath, run.
Do not stop to alert the authorities or seek medical assistance.
Just run and get the hell as far away as possible.
If however, this takes longer than expected and you feel yourself going into anaphylactic shock, loudly exclaim, “Oh, I have to go to the restroom!”
Be warned that even then, this may be met with resistance from the conversation hog and you may be prompted to “hold it a bit longer while I finish telling you this.”
Neutralize this threat by interjecting, “No! I have the runs. But wait here and when I get back, I’ll show you pictures of my husband’s/ wife’s hemorrhoid surgery.”
This will usually deter the conversation hog from any further attack and thus allow you to break free.
On a side note, in the future, it might be a good idea to have similarly disgusting scenarios you can use as deterrents.
Remember, the more nauseating they are, the higher your rate of survival.