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Eight conversation habits of extremely annoying people

Having an opinion on everything or relating everything back to your experiences are among the things that irk Quora and Reddit users

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 March, 2017, 11:30am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 March, 2017, 11:56pm

It’s easier to be an annoying conversationalist than it is to be a skilled one.

Who wants to listen to the other person when you could instead talk endlessly about yourself, or pretend you’re listening when you’re really scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed?

Over on Quora and Reddit, users are having an ongoing vent session, sharing the conversation behaviours they find most irksome.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most cringeworthy — so you know exactly what to avoid in your next conversation.

1. Looking at your phone

Heera R Nair writes on Quora:

“Basic courtesies people! Someone is trying to tell you something they are passionate about or how their day went and they chose you because they like you; the least you could do is give them your undivided attention.

“Your phone and the memes aren’t going anywhere. It can wait.”

Indeed, a 2015 survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre found that 89 per cent of cell phone owners said they used their phone during the last social activity they attended.

At the same time, 82 per cent of adults said that, when people use their phones in social settings, it can hurt the conversation.

2. Trying to one-up the other person

On Quora, Eric Nyaga writes:

“If someone shares with you an experience he has had, never counter it with your own or that of someone you know.

“E.g. If anyone tells of a promotion at work then you also tell them you’ve been made an executive director in such and such organisation. Many people find it annoying but won’t tell you.”

3. Constantly interrupting the other person

“Probably all of us know someone who does that,” Peter T Mayer writes on Quora, “and it is really, really annoying.”

Give the other person the space to share freely.

4. Talking to someone while they’re wearing headphones

That’s according to Quora user Indu KS, who adds that when someone takes out just one earbud in order to hear what you’re saying, “it is a sign that they aren’t really interested in a small talk or any kind of human interaction.

At least not from you, and at least not at the moment.

5. Relating everything back to your own experience

So says Redditor DeathHaze420, adding:

“I understand that the general flow of a conversation is back and forth. But I hate people who let you tell half a story before relating some [minuscule] detail back to them.”

The Redditor is onto something — as Dale Carnegie wrote in his 1936 bestseller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the secret to making people like you is simply to listen and encourage other people to talk about themselves.

6. Voicing an opinion on everything

An anonymous Redditor writes: “The less they know, the more their opinion is specific, the more they feel entitled to shout it at the world’s face.”

This doesn’t mean you have to stay completely neutral — it’s helpful to share your thoughts and feelings on topics you care about. But you’ll wind up alienating the other person if you feel the need to feign passion about every single issue that comes up.

7. Name-dropping

As an anonymous Redditor says, “It’s super annoying because I know they’re trying to impress people and make themselves sound way more important than they are.”

In fact, a recent study suggests that name-dropping in an attempt to wow your audience generally backfires — you wind up looking less competent and less likable.

8. Using unnecessarily fancy language

“I hate when people use really big words to sound smarter than they actually are,” AdinBacon writes on Reddit. “Especially when they use the words incorrectly. It makes me beleaguered.”

Research backs up the Redditor’s point: People who use simpler language are perceived as more intelligent.

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