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Jun-28-2011 06:57printcomments

Facing that Chatterbox Challenge: It's Narcissus in Nuances!

Chatterboxes are a perpetual challenge. Too much verbosity will bring on animosity. Enough said!

Climbin in your windows
For the full story on this verbose gentleman, read: The Most Annoying Little Fruit on YouTube

(SALEM, Ore.) - Into every life a little rain must fall, and all of us have at one time encountered the Chatterbox type. They tend to box you on by practicing the monologue--until you plead with them: "No more!"

Even then, these proverbial motor-mouths put the famous "Energizer Bunny" to absolute shame. They are compulsive talkers.

They require a verbal outlet just to exist. Most people breathe air. They breathe words. That is, words upon words. They seem never to have absorbed the concept of having boundaries. To them, chattering is their form of Manifest Destiny. And all of us are in their wide scope of target practice. As an individual, I generally do not wish to impose my will on others. It is not easy to convince a Chatterbox to cease conversation. Subtle hits are usually ignored. Probably their very core of pushiness might indicate that they only respond to a return push.

You must use your gutsiness, and do it with gusto.

What particularly drives me up the wall is that these mega-talkers mostly focus on people and events unknown to me. There's a void of commonality. I confront the modern-day Narcissus who is obvilious to others. They indulge in self-serving chitchat and, for all intents and purposes, they are mainly talking to themselves. Quite to the point, they pointedly adore the sounds of their own voices. But others may not want to go along for the ride.

My theory is that their family of origin made them into who they have become. It could have been the result of sibling rivalry and an obsessive need to prevail. Or else perhaps a parent or aunt or uncle provided that example of a jawbone that never really rested. The seeds were sown in the past to carry over into the present.

Is there a remedy for these rambling talk-talk-talkers? I'd recommend we must frame our reactions in ego-driven terms. We must tell them forthrightly that their interaction is weakening their delivery and undercutting their effectiveness at getting across. When someone marginalizes, the other feels isolated. The chatterer thus is forcing the other to become a verbal "wallflower". Such wallflowers soon begin to shrivel and the relationship withers.

Chatterboxes are a perpetual challenge. Too much verbosity will bring on animosity. Enough said!


Salem-News.com Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address: luckycoyne@yahoo.com

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