For people who are particularly vocal, it can be hard for them to avoid or even notice the fact that they talk too much. If you’re one of those individuals, this article is for you.
Talking too much isn’t inherently a bad trait. However, in a lot of situations, if you talk too much, you can unknowingly disrupt the proper flow of conversation everyone expects. Everyone involved in a conversation should be given the time to speak up too, after all. If you take up too much of the conversation by talking too much, this can make others not want to socialize with you anymore.
Another unfortunate thing is that a lot of people who talk too much are unaware of this fact. This is because it’s something they’ve been doing for too long and they just can’t help themselves. Before you can work on stopping yourself from talking too much, you must first confirm if you are indeed this type of person.
How to Know You Talk Too Much
Here are some of the most obvious signs you should be able to spot that you talk too much.
Your friends often space out when you speak
Do you ever notice your friends spacing out or not paying attention to you when you speak? This could be due to the fact that they know you’re going to be talking for a while and they’re already dreading the idea of focusing on you for minutes on end.
Despite this, however, you somehow remain unshaken. Despite knowing the fact that some of your friends have already stopped paying attention to you, you ignore this fact and continue talking anyway. You scan your eyes around the room to see who’s still paying attention and you focus on them as you keep talking.
You hate the feeling of being interrupted
It really bugs you when someone interrupts your speaking barrage. You feel somewhat irritated when you know you still have a lot more to say but you’re unable to finish your thoughts because someone just interrupted you.
As someone who talks too much, you happen to get interrupted quite often as well. Some of your friends or those who aren’t very close to you will feel the need to step in if they realize you’ve been talking for way too long.
Your friends are unmotivated to speak up around you
Think on this. Whenever you’re hanging out with your friends, do you take over most of your conversations? Have you noticed that your friends don’t even bother speaking up around you? When was the last time you heard a friend share something intimate and personal with you?
If you can surmise that your friends are unmotivated to speak up around you, that’s because you talk too much. They know you’re the type of person who usually takes over the conversation very quickly and they might not feel heard around you.
You get teased about it from time to time
You also get teased about the fact that you speak too much from time to time. Your friends will “tease” you about it, but believe me, they’re being very serious with you. Your friends might just not want to be blatant with you since they don’t want to offend you.
If you’ve gotten teased about talking too much, start taking that seriously and start working on talking less. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that in just a bit.
You occasionally talk about the same things over and over again
Talking about the same things on separate occasions is something people who talk too much do. You may or may not realize this, and you’re lucky if a friend or two have already called you out on this. This is a pretty common occurrence amongst people who talk way too much around their friends.
This mainly happens because you feel like the story you’re about to share is really interesting that you forget to realize you’ve already told the story before.
People often ask you if the story you’re about to tell is long
Have you ever been asked if the story you’re about to tell is long? As soon as your friend starts noticing that you’re gearing up for a story, they’ll cut you off before even starting and ask you if it’s a long story.
More often than not, they know that it’s going to be a long story, but they’ll ask you anyway.
A friend prefers having someone else in the conversation with you
A friend will often prefer having someone else there when you’re engaging them in a conversation. They’ll also do the same if you ask them out. You often go to hang out with them, only to find they’ve invited someone else as well.
That friend will usually bring someone else so that they can have someone else to talk to while hanging out with you. Aside from that, they also do this so that you can focus on someone else too instead of just keeping your focus on them.
Certain friends don’t answer your calls
Some of your friends will refrain from answering your calls. They’ll later text you back to say they were busy or they simply didn’t notice. But if you call them back, they still won’t answer the call.
Similar to a face-to-face encounter, they’re avoiding your calls because they know you’re going to be talking too much and that will take up a lot of their time. Perhaps they really are busy or they just have something better to do.
You often spill out secrets
You have a reputation of being unable to keep a secret. Perhaps you don’t do this on purpose. Perhaps this is just a result of you speaking too much that you always seem to accidentally spill out secrets. You can even sometimes forget that what you’re telling is a secret to begin with. You talk about it because you believe it is okay to talk about it.
Other than that, you spill out secrets because you don’t want to run out of things to say.
You often add unnecessary details to stories
At times, when you tell stories, you add details that are so unnecessary to the point of the story you’re telling. Whether you believe this adds to the story or not, or whether or not it will be relevant later on, what you’re only doing is extending the story you’re telling when it could be told much in a much more concise manner.
For example, if you’re telling a story about how a co-worker did something terrible at work, you’ll add details about that person’s personal life that has nothing to do with the story.
You find it hard to build new friendships
Very few of the new people you meet stay in your life simply because of the fact that you talk too much. By doing this, you’re not giving them the opportunity to add value to interactions. You barely even know that much about them because, during your interactions, you’re the one who’s talking way most of the time.
Most of the friends you have now are people you’ve known for a while. You may have some new friends who are co-workers or those who are always in close proximity with you, but you’re rarely able to befriend a complete stranger.
You feel the need to be liked
Whether you know this or not, you may have the need to be liked by others. You want others to see you as a warm company. You believe you talk the way you talk, or talk as long as you do, for the sake of those listening. In reality, however, you do this simply because you either can’t help it or you just enjoy speaking a lot.
How To Stop Talking Too Much
As you’ve probably realized already by now, talking too much can very much dampen your social life. If you want your current and future friends to pay attention to you when you talk, you need to decrease your words-per-minute percentage.
That said, here are the things you can do to stop talking too much.
Be the listener
Whenever you’re interacting with someone, try being the listener instead of being the speaker, for once. Actually listen to the stories of other people. Learn more about them by allowing them to speak. Give them your focus. You’ll be pleased with how interesting it is to just be the receiver of stories instead of the one telling them.
When you do listen to somebody, make sure you’re giving them your full, undivided attention. Keep your eyes on them. Don’t only listen to their words, but also the meaning behind their stories. Force yourself to be fascinated with them, and in time, you will be with everyone else you meet.
Talk to your friends about it
Most of your friends already know by now that you’re the type of person who talks too much. If you really want to better yourself, seek the help of your friends. Tell them that you know you talk too much and that you want to work on this aspect of your life.
Your friends will appreciate you for trying to better yourself. They’ll also be very happy to help you since it will also serve them well. If you’re able to talk less during your interactions, then they’ll finally get the chance to open up around you.
If you receive criticisms from your friends or from other people because of how you talk too much, accept them wholeheartedly. A lot of those criticisms can help you become a better conversationalist.
Of course, you can also weed out the destructive criticisms from the constructive ones. A lot of criticisms can help bring you up, but some of them are said by others with malicious intent. Don’t be bothered by the destructive ones. Focus your attention on the constructive criticisms that you receive and meditate on them.
Tighten your stories
One of the biggest issues with people who talk too much is that they can’t seem to get to the end of the story quickly enough. In a lot of cases, stories can be shortened and that will even have a bigger impact. Long, drawn-out stories can be tiresome and worthless for a lot of people.
That said, make sure to tighten your stories. Figure out a way to tell your stories in a much shorter and more concise manner. Remove the unnecessary details and keep only those that are actually relevant to the story you’re trying to tell. People will pay much more attention to you if your stories are short, clear, and on point.
Don’t interrupt other people
When it’s someone else’s time to speak, avoid interrupting them as best as you can. This is one of those times when listening is much more important than speaking.
As someone who used to talk too much, your friends will most likely expect you to cut them off whenever they’re telling their stories. Subvert their expectations by refraining from interrupting them. Listen to them instead. They’ll be very happy with this change.
The only time you should ever interrupt someone is to ask a clarifying question or if they said something you didn’t quite hear clearly. Use interruptions as a way of making their stories more clear to you, not to cut them off to tell your own stories.
While you’re still trying to better your social and conversational skills by refraining from talking too much, it will serve you better to avoid arguments. Don’t place yourself in a position where your opinions will clash with someone else’s. Remove the need to be right all the time. Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all.
One of the best ways to avoid arguments is to just keep an open mind. Remember, the world is a very diverse place. People will have different opinions, world views, and beliefs. Learn to accept this. If you encounter someone whose opinions differ from yours, allow them to voice out their opinions and just listen to them. You don’t need to believe them, but you can always still respect them.
One of the ways you can encourage others to talk and encourage yourself to be the listener is to ask them questions. Be curious about everyone you meet and be curious about the lives of your friends. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask them about their work, family, personal relationships, and goals.
As long as you remain curious, your questions will always come naturally. Just make sure you don’t ask something way too personal. Make sure the questions you ask are within the boundaries of casual social interactions. Your goal is to simply let them speak and learn about them so you can start listening and stop talking too much. You don’t need to know about their deepest, darkest secrets.
Always keep secrets
If ever you are given a secret by someone, make sure to keep it for yourself. Never, under any circumstance, divulge someone else’s secret. If someone told you something about themselves and they ask you to keep it a secret, that means they trust you. Don’t betray that trust by revealing that secret to other people.
Having a reputation of being good with secrets will also greatly help you out socially. More and more people will want to speak with you, thus giving you more chances to be the listener.
Focus on other ways to voice out your opinions
If you’re someone who just can’t help but speak out your thoughts and opinions, then find another outlet to do so. Not everything needs to be said vocally. One thing you can do is to keep a journal. Write your thoughts there. You’ll find that it can be very therapeutic for you.
Writing down your thoughts, opinions, and even stories, can also help you tell them better in person. Write the things you want to say and figure out how you can speak out those things without talking too much. Find the quickest and most efficient way to tell those things without compromising the meaning or its overall point.
Learn to relax
One of the things you can do to avoid talking too much is to simply relax. Sometimes, the reason why you talk too much is that you’re too hyped and excited about the story you’re about to tell. You get so lost in the story that you forget to consider the time and feelings of the person you’re talking to.
That said, take it easy. Even if the story you’re telling is incredibly exciting, take a deep breath and tell your story effectively. Not only will this make you talk less but it will also make the story more impactful.
Apologize if you catch yourself talking too much again
Since you’re still working on yourself, there’s a very high chance that you’re going to slip up every once in a while. That’s okay! The most important thing here is that you’re actually trying to be better.
This is way harder than it seems, especially if this is something you’ve been doing for way too long now. However, whenever you start catching yourself talking too much again, the best thing to do is to take a step back, apologize to the person you’re talking to, and give them the chance to talk.
If you can’t quite pinpoint the moment when you’re beginning to talk more than you need to, pay attention to other peoples’ body language. A person’s body language is more important than you think. Sometimes, people portray emotions with their bodies more than they do with their words. When they start to ignore you, or look tense, or even bored, that’s your cue to stop talking.
Know that it’s okay to have silence sometimes
Understand that there is value in silence. You don’t need to fill every silence by talking. Sometimes, it’s helpful to just allow the silence to take over for a while.
For example, if you and your friends are at a bar, or a coffees shop, or wherever, and there is a moment of silence among you, you don’t always need to fill that silence. Perhaps everyone is enjoying that temporary silence. Friends who are really close with each other can bask in silence together and still have a wonderful time with one another.
Of course, this isn’t to say the entire day or night should just be filled with silence. There will come a time when someone needs to bring up a conversation to get things going too. However, during those rare moments when everyone is enjoying the silence, don’t ruin that moment by talking about something inconsequential.
Stop having the need to be liked
If the reason you talk too much is that you always need to be liked by those around you, stop. I know this is easier said than done, but force yourself to stop having the need to be liked. This is not only unrealistic, but it is also very damaging for you.
Understand that not everyone you meet will like you. You can try, of course, by being nice, sincere, and kind, but don’t keep it in your head that they should like you no matter what. Just be socialize casually and let friendships happen naturally. If you’re kind and good enough, of course, people will like you. Just don’t actively seek that out.
Seek professional help if you believe the cause is more serious
In some cases, people who talk too much also suffer from certain underlying issues. Talking too much is a sign of many mental health conditions, including but not limited to ADHD, mania, social anxiety, and even schizophrenia.
If ever this is the reason for you, don’t take too long before seeking professional health. It’s better to have assistance early on instead of letting it fester. Not only will it help you talk less but it will also be so much better for you in the long run personally, socially, professionally, and most importantly, mentally.
People who talk too much usually mean well. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that it can be socially damaging for them. If this is the case for you, learning how to stop talking too much is very essential. If you actively sought this article out, then it’s good that you’re already aware of the issue.
The next step of fixing it won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile and beneficial. Make sure to keep in mind everything you’ve read here. If you need help with other conversational issues, be sure to read the other articles on this site as well. Good luck!