Blather and Prattle

I’m pretty sure we all have at least one person in our lives with Communication Addiction Disorder (CAD)  — except we usually call them “people who talk too much”; “people who like the sound of their own voice”; crashing bores, rude, annoying, etc. Turns out they have a “disorder”. (Doesn’t everyone?)

Approximately 16% of the population has CAD and approximately 84% of the population suffers from CAD. Ha ha.

Here’s how to identify someone with CAD:

  • Whenever you see them, they’re talking.
  • It’s almost impossible to contribute to any conversation in which they’re involved.
  • Any story you might try to start to tell, they will interrupt with an even more amazing story of their own.
  • All of their stories involve excruciating detail about everything and many digressions.
  • They talk almost exclusively about themselves and are very self-absorbed.
  • They voice an opinion about everything and at great length.
  • They spend a lot of time on the phone.
  • They love meetings.
  • They tell you things you already knew and/or which they already told you.
  • They like to manipulate you into siding with them against other people.
  • They do not listen to what other people say.
  • They always behave as if they’re under incredible stress or pressure and tell you how much stress and pressure they’re under (at great length).
  • They tend not to speak at a normal conversational speed – they either talk especially quickly or especially slowly.

(Hmmm. I think I may have the written version of CAD. I promise I’m not as verbose in real life as I am in the blogosphere….Please, someone back me up.)

Anyway, these people are extremely annoying and difficult to work with. I have no idea what they’d be like to live with and have no intention of finding out. I find it’s most often women who have this problem and, in my experience, very often women in managerial positions.

That doesn’t mean you should assume that my current manager has CAD and that I’ve been furiously researching the topic so that my head doesn’t explode the next time I’m cornered by her. No. Not at all. This is purely an academic exercise. Yes indeedy.

So, why can these people never shut up? According to experts it could be any or all of the following:

  • They’re controlling people who are personally out of control.
  • They have low self-esteem/are insecure or have extraordinarily high opinions of themselves.
  • They have anxiety issues.
  • They think they’re smarter or more experienced than everyone else.
  • They feel more important when they’re the ones doing the talking. They equate talking with power.
  • They equate silence with ignorance.
  • They talk to figure out how they’re feeling or what they believe and simply can’t just think things through like normal people.
  • They need to be the centre of attention.
  • They believe people are fascinated by what they have to say.

Anyone with CAD has surely been told more than once that they talk too much but still can’t stop themselves. They can’t stop because they don’t really believe they have a problem or that their excessive talking is causing social rejection and professional suicide. They are “talkaholics”. It’s a condition more difficult to overcome than chronic shyness.

So, that’s nice, but it doesn’t help me people who have to deal with people with CAD. Experts suggest trying any or all of the following:

  • Set a time limit before the conversation begins. Say something like, “I’m sorry, I only have 5 minutes before my next meeting.”
  • Be “rude” yourself and interrupt, saying something like, “Wait a second, I’d like to respond to something you said just now.”
  • Say things like, “I don’t think I need all the details right now. Let me just understand the salient points to begin with.”
  • If all else fails, excuse yourself and say you have to leave. And then leave.

Of course the best thing is not to have people like this in your life. They can suck up hours, days, weeks, years of your life while chattering pointlessly on and on and on and on and on…..

Do you know someone with CAD? How do you cope?