Getting taken hostage by “talkaholics” is a recurring theme in my life, and as part of the Boundary Project I am learning to identify these types and not let myself get within striking range, and in the event that I inadvertently do end up getting captured, work out a method to jailbreak myself and a protocol for avoiding getting trapped again. 

Sometime in late 2012

WTF is up with these pathological talkers?!  I’m referring to those people who just never shut up. They just talk and talk and talk and talk, and it’s all one way. It’s next to impossible to get a word in edgewise, and awkward to get away from them, like you have to cut them off in mid sentence (usually after giving up on them ever stopping for breath!) and abruptly and firmly announce that you have to go, and then you’re stuck with feeling like you’re being rude, when in fact you are merely exercising your basic human right to self-defense in extricating yourself from a hostage situation. And then they’ll still try to reel you back in, carrying right on talking and talking and talking as you pick up your things and back out of the room feigning a polite smile while vowing to yourself that you will do your utmost to avoid ever getting trapped in a one-on-one situation with that individual ever again.  

This is not about having a conversation. You might well have innocently assumed that it would be a conversation, but it’s really about getting taken captive and subjected to a series of lectures and dissertations you didn’t sign up for. It’s as if the compulsive talker has no concept of (or interest in) actually interacting with you, and their only goal is to monopolize all the available airspace by reciting a series of memorized monologues that they cannot seem to function without, or sometimes it’s just straight-up stream-of-consciousness yammering. If you even try to assert your aliveness and say anything (as opposed to just sitting there obediently listening like a prop), they just talk over you and you’re once again mowed down by an unbidden barrage of babble.  

There is a variant to this, and I don’t think it’s quite as pathological and one-way. In this case, the person does not appear to be actively trying to monopolize the interaction. They’re just…hmmm…I’m not sure what…perhaps afraid that if they don’t get their entire story in right now, complete with all the footnotes and citations, they’ll never get another chance to be heard? These are the ones that when you ask them a question or request information from them, you’re subjected to 20 minutes of rapid-fire oration that may or may not directly answer your question or give you the information you are looking for, and even if it does, it’s completely lost within the inundation of verbiage. It’s like asking for a cup of water and they turn a fire hose on you!  

There’s got to be something in the DSM V for this.  

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