Sure, they’ll smile and nod. They’ll even pacify you with an “mhmm” or “yeah” once in a while. But they’re secretly planning an escape route. Sadly, there are some things no one wants to hear you talk about.
Here are 6 topics you pretty much want to avoid when talking to most people, along with the few exceptions for each.
1. Your children or grandchildren.
The problem: Your child is the center of your world. But unless your name is Mary, your husband’s name is Joseph, and your baby was born in a manger, no one else is really interested in hearing about your kid. Moms, this includes details about your pregnancy.
The same goes for grandchildren. To you, they’re precious gifts. To everyone else, they’re snot-nosed brats.
You may think other parents and grandparents want to hear about your little angels. It’s true that they’ll seem interested. Unfortunately, they’re just waiting for your lips to stop flapping so they can tell you about their little angels.
And moms, please stop giving me your toddler’s age in months. Your kid is not 25 months old, they’re 2 years old. I was only asking to be polite anyway.
Who might actually want to hear about this: Your child’s teacher or pediatrician is being paid to listen to you, so go ahead and tell them all about your munchkins. Just don’t expect to tell them anything they haven’t heard before.
2. Your pets.
The problem: This is the young apartment-dweller’s version of blabbing about their kids. And yeah, I’ve done it.
It’s hard for me to remember that my adorable, loving ferrets are just oversized, smelly rats to everyone else. But it’s true, and the same goes for your pets. Just reread everything I wrote above and replace “children or grandchildren” with “pets” so I don’t have to type it out again.
Who might actually want to hear about this: Your veterinarian, of course. Again, they’re being paid to listen.
3. That time you almost did something really important, but then you didn’t.
The problem: There’s no punchline in these stories. Most of the time, there’s not even a plot. You may have almost gotten that big job, come up with an awesome comeback, or asked that hottie out, but you didn’t.
Nothing actually happened, so there’s no story.
Who might actually want to hear about this: Your psychologist, if it’s something you dwell on a lot.
4. Your debts.
The problem: People don’t like to hear about depressing stuff, and debt is a really depressing topic in this economy.
Talking about how much money you owe reminds people of how much money they owe. Before you know it, everyone in the room over the age of 19 is ready to jump out the window—or at least they would be, if they weren’t afraid of medical debts.
So, unless you want to throw a BYOB pity party for the whole block, don’t talk about your debts. This includes student loans and credit card debts, too.
Who might actually want to hear about this: A credit counselor licensed to provide debt management advice in your state. Daniela Baker from CreditDonkey warns us that a scam artist will also listen to your sad tale, but only to get you into more debt. Sadly, scammers tend to target people with mounting credit card debts.
That’s why the Federal Trade Commission advises you to check out a credit counseling organization before signing anything. This includes asking for free info, checking with the Better Business Bureau, and interviewing the counselors. Complaining about being scammed is also depressing.
5. Your personal insecurities.
The problem: Everyone has things about themselves they can’t stand. Yup, everyone. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Reese Witherspoon, the Homecoming Queen from your high school, everyone.
Whatever you don’t like about yourself, there are thousands of other people who feel the same way about themselves. When you whine about your flaws, you only draw more attention to them. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a few people agreeing with you, and then what?
Who might actually want to hear about this: Again, your psychologist, if it’s something you feel is preventing you from living a normal life.
6. Your family issues or social dramas.
The problem: Have you ever noticed that people who complain about drama the most cause drama the most? Drama is such a big part of their lives that they can’t step back from it long enough to have a normal conversation. That’s just sad.
“But wait,” you say, “everyone loves dirt and gossip!”
That may be true, but only when it’s either about a famous person, or bad enough to get someone arrested. No one cares about the time Jeff said Mark’s sister was fat and she heard about it, so Mark’s sister told Jeff’s girlfriend about the time he broke up with his ex-girlfriend Melanie, like, right before Valentine’s Day.
Who might actually want to hear about this: The people who will be directly affected probably need to hear the Cliffs Notes version, if only to stop them from getting slapped after making an innocent joke to Mark’s sister.
You know what, I cannot tell a lie—I’m guilty of almost all of the above. I got lucky with the first one because I don’t have kids yet, but I’ve still talked about the hippie names I plan to give my imaginary future kids, which is arguably even worse.
Maybe we’re hardwired to blab about these issues because they’re important to us, even if listening to them is as exciting as watching paint dry blindfolded to the poor victims we’ve cornered in elevators. But the least we can do is be honest with ourselves and admit that no one else wants to hear about ‘em.
Contributed by the team from CreditDonkey. Compare credit card offers such as Chase Visa on CreditDonkey’s comparison website.