Why you’re annoyed when someone talks too much


Annoyance is a negative emotion that tells us we should avoid a particular situation, activity, or person. Annoyance is a weak signal of pain that can turn into full-blown anger if the thing annoying us doesn’t stop or go away.

Avoiding people, things, and activities that annoy us brings relief, fulfilling the purpose of annoyance.

People get annoyed by a lot of things. Someone talking too much is one of those things. The sheer number of words people use can be annoying irrespective of volume.

Of course, talking too much while also being loud is worse.

Reasons you get annoyed when someone over-talks

1. Valueless conversations

This is perhaps the biggest reason for getting annoyed when someone talks too much. When you get value from a conversation, you can listen endlessly, and quantity ceases to matter.

For instance, when someone is discussing a topic you’re interested in.

It can get super-annoying super-fast when you’re forced to listen to someone talking endlessly about something you don’t care about.

2. Irritability

You’re likely to get annoyed when someone talks too much if you’re already irritable. Irritability is caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Hunger
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

You might find that the things you usually don’t find annoying become annoying when you’re irritable.

For example, you might listen to your loved ones talk endlessly about the most mundane stuff. But the same is hard to do when you’re irritable.

3. You’re trapped

When you can’t escape a situation where you’ve got to listen to something you don’t care about, annoyance kicks in pretty soon.

For example, you may force yourself to sit through a boring class if you know that the class will be over soon.

When the lecturer extends the class by an hour, you get super-annoyed. Your boredom crosses tolerable levels into the realm of annoyance.

4. They dominate the conversation

We humans have a fundamental need to be heard, understood, and validated.

When someone dominates the conversation by talking too much, you feel ignored, unimportant, unheard, and invalidated.

Often, people who over-talk talk over you. This is a power move to silence you and enforce their views. When you’re deprived of expression, you feel annoyed.

5. They only talk about themselves

People try to increase their perceived importance when talking about themselves. Their interests and problems take precedence over yours.

Someone who’s constantly bragging about themselves is also giving an indirect message:

“I’m better than you.”

No wonder, it isn’t enjoyable for the listener. No one wants to hear someone tooting and blowing their own horn.

Some people have this irritating habit of asking what I call fake questions. They ask you how you’re doing (fake question), but they don’t listen to what you have to say.

Instead, they start talking about themselves, answering their own question, oddly enough.

They only asked that fake question to allow themselves to ramble on and on about themselves.

6. They’re know-it-alls

People commonly dominate others in conversations by acting like they know it all. This is especially annoying when a person has no educational background or experience about what they’re talking about.

When someone tries to show they’re a know-it-all, they’re automatically relegating the listener to the position of ‘know-nothing’. If they know it all, you probably know nothing which is annoying to consider.

7. You don’t like them

When you don’t like someone, you might find everything they say annoying. Your bias against them blinds (and deafens) you to anything valuable they might have to say. The more they talk, the more annoyed you are.

The movie 12 Angry Men presents an excellent example of this. Even when presented with compelling evidence, some biased characters found it hard to change their minds.

8. They’re unimportant to you

Talking isn’t just a verbal exchange of information; it’s also bonding and relationship-building.

If you don’t care about someone, you don’t feel like talking to them. Anything they have to say gets perceived as invaluable and, therefore, annoying. And when they over-talk, it’s even more annoying.

9. Sensory overload

Some personality types, like introverts and highly sensitive people, feel overloaded when processing a lot of information. That includes someone over-talking. They have a greater need for alone time.

An introvert is likely to find an extrovert- who talks a lot- annoying.

10. You’re overstimulated

Even if you’re not a hard-core introvert, sometimes you may find yourself in situations where you display introvert-like behaviors.

I’m talking about situations where you feel overstimulated. For example, after spending a lot of time browsing the internet or playing video games.

When you’re in this highly irritable state, you behave like introverts normally behave. You have no mental bandwidth to hear someone talk, let alone over-talk.

Similarly, if you’re overstimulated in one area (e.g., work), you may find listening to your partner talk endlessly annoying. Your mind can’t take any more stimulation, even though you care about your partner.

11. You’re being distracted

When concentrating on something, all your attention needs to be on that thing. Since attention is finite and you can’t pay attention to two things at a time, you get annoyed when someone tries to steal your attention by over-talking.

12. They’re uneconomical with words

Conversations that are redundant and go off on tangents are low-value conversations. People who’re uneconomical with their words use more words to say less. They’re narrating an essay for what could’ve been conveyed in a paragraph.

All that padding is more unnecessary information for the mind to process. Since we don’t like wasting our mental energy on unnecessary things, it can get annoying.

This is also why you’re annoyed when someone repeats the same thing over and over.

“I understood when you said it the first time, you know.”

13. You’re jealous

If you’re an attention-seeker and like being the center of attention, someone over-talking threatens you. They’re taking away your ‘air-time’. You might conclude they’re annoying, but if you dig deeper, you’ll find yourself wanting the attention they have.

Declaring them as annoying was merely a way to cope with the situation, one up your competition, and feel better about yourself.