Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Talking too much

We always complain that we are not able to talk a lot due to our stuttering. But I am not sure the opposite, namely talking incessantly, is a good thing either. I went swimmming this evening, and there was a guy in the changing rooms (lockers' for the US readers just in case they ask me why I want to change rooms like the lady at the hotel reception did in NY). He was alone, and he was talking to himself, and to everyone else in the changing rooms even though he didnt know anyone and no-one replied to him. He was obsessively talkative, and much of what he said was small talk intermixed with more meaningful speech. He noticed that I looked at him a bit strangely. Then he pointed to a scar and said: I had an car accident as a teenager. So I just asked him: "Are you OK now?" And he said: "I am fine." But then I replied: "But you are talking all the time. And you only started to do this after your accident, right? You cannot control yourself not talking!" And he looked at me, and said: "Yes, it is true. I am not the same as before the car accident. But I guess that is life." And then I said something, but I stuttered. His face suddenly brightened up and he said: "But you too have problems!". So I tought: "Oh my God, I am outed again", and left for the swimming pool with my best wishes for his getting better. At least, I did make him happier with my stuttering. Not often that this happens! :-)


Anonymous said...


It's interesting you should say that his face brightened when he noticed you had a stutter: "You too have problems!"

That tells us something important about stuttering (and other things), which is worth reiterating: Stutterers often think stuttering is unacceptable and shameful, but when people hear that you stutter (especially if you are open and relaxed) this can actually make them feel comfortable -- "Phew, this guy has problems, too."

Moral: nothing brings tension down in a conversation than by being open and accepting about any faults you feel you have, straightforwardly and with good humour.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. And it confirms the old saying 'less is more' in a sense.

People generally talk too much indeed. And too much rubbish.

On the other hand if this one person is talking so much because of his accident and some slight damage to his brain, then he cannot really be faulted for it. At least not more as we can be faulted for stuttering.

Michael said...

Tom (this is Michael - we met at the BUKO 2005 in Göttingen) -
well, an interesting incident indeed. Good that you were so open towards him, but why were you shocked when you got "outed"?

I found out that it relaxes my coversations a lot when I tell the opposite that I stutter sometimes after or while I had/have the first "stutter event" (at least I try to do so - if I don't do so I don't feel good). So even if it is quite obvious and even if people tell me afterwards that I need not to mention it since it is not important to them I still do so - because I do it for my own relaxation. Telling other people that you stutter helps you and it is a part of "public relation for stuttering" - two things at the same time within 5 seconds. Is there any method or therapy more effective?? :)

Finally we live in a market economy (although I was born in a command economy) and the most effective tools are the best ones. For me there are little, simple means and some more difficult such as meditation - but it is always good to search for the most effective since you will have more time for other things in life (apart from stuttering). And enjoy the search - that is the most important thing. "The way is the goal" as we would say in Germany ...

All the best, Michael.

Good luck, Michael.