Please Don’t Make Me Listen to You

18 Aug

What is it that compels people to tell the same story twice?

I don’t mean the people who forget they’ve told you before.    I mean the people who you tell they told you before and they still keep going.  Not even a general reminder of the story – just a straight up, detailed, almost verbatim retelling.  

It’s not even the annoyance anymore.  It’s just the fact that it’s a waste of my time.

I’m finding that in my older, more crotchety days, I’m placing a strong importance on whether or not something is worth my investment of time. This is a direct result of saying yes to everything and anything and subsequently balling myself up in the fetal position and crying until I pull myself up out of the puddle of stress I leak on the floor.  If I can cut out things in my life that stress me out, annoy me, and are superfluous, then I can make more time for sleep.  And happiness.

One thing I can definitely cut for time is story retellers.

I’m thinking of disengaging them entirely.  Perhaps it’s time to have a candid conversation with these offenders.  Something along the lines of “Hey, look.  I’m at a time in my life where I’m really trying to cut the metaphorical fat.  And while you are important to me, I don’t see any sense in rehearing something you’ve already told me and I’ve made an effort to remember.  As a result, if you have no new information to pass on, perhaps we should part ways for now.”

Too cold?

Far worse than the story retellers are the joke repeaters.  I can’t stand joke repeaters.  Not the folks who tell you a joke you’ve heard before; that’s basically unavoidable, though I would argue that one shouldn’t socialize with folks who “tell jokes”.   Instead, I’m referring to people who recall what they believe to be a funny story and regardless of whether or not people laugh, proceed to run through the same exact thing all over again. Example:

They  lay out the sequence of events, drag you through them again more slowly, and then recap when it’s over.  It’s like a bad episode of Dragonball Z. 

Too nerdy?

The worst cases repeat the tagline (see above) until they squeeze a chuckle out of someone.  Let’s be clear: repeating a bad joke but making it louder and laughing more at yourself does not make it funnier.

I thought we were all clear on this.

 Anyway I’m tired of it.  It’s a senseless waste of my time, not to mention I have absolutely no plan for avoiding the incredibly awkward space where someone tells the same joke over and over that I can’t even pretend to find funny.  I have no exit plan.  All I can do is make a strangely inhuman fake smile face.  Which, on my face, doesn’t come out as a fake smile face at all.  It just kind of looks like I have to go to the bathroom.

I can think of at least five people I know who do this.  I’m sure there are more.  And if I add up how many times I will listen to things I’ve already heard and don’t care to hear again over the course of the next year, (let’s say 5 offenses in a month at 5 minutes each times 12 months in a year), that’s 5 hours.  5 hours! That’s almost an entire day of sleep.  Or learning how to knit.  Or showering more frequently.

Any of them would be nice, really.

This is just the beginning.  I’m cutting the metaphorical fat, friends.  No more wasting time with obligations.  No more enduring double storytelling and repeated taglines.

After all, I’m being held back from being an excellent knitter. 


30 Responses to “Please Don’t Make Me Listen to You”

  1. Sonja August 18, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I think we should be friends in real life! I have thought the same thing as well. You could always say, “I’m not laughing now, because I laughed the FIRST time you told me.” :/

    I learned to knit in about 10 minutes (the basic knit stitch). In 5 hours, you could make a scarf or a dishrag or cute little coasters! The possibilities are endless!! (It’s also a great way to avoid talking to people when out in public. Hey, I’m following a pattern, PEOPLE!!)


    • pegoleg August 18, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      This seems to be an occupational hazard of getting old, one I’m terrified I’m going to do (am already doing???).

      I’m with Sonja. You can use that time productively to knit coasters. Then be on the lookout for the post ranting about people who give knit coasters to their unsuspecting friends, “Please Don’t Give Me Coasters”.


      • Sonja August 19, 2011 at 9:41 am #

        Good point Pegoleg!! I’ll have to keep track of who gets coasters and then the next year, make a nice scarf or hat. Good list one year, sh*t list the next!! I guess knit coasters are better than crocheted toilet paper cozies. LOL!!


      • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:34 am #

        A lot in my life right now seems to be leading to knitting.

        Apparently it’s my high calling.


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      The idea that one scarf takes 5 hours is just amazing to me. Amazing because that’s forever. I could do so much in 5 hours that isn’t knitting.

      I wonder if I’ll have the patience…


  2. misswhiplash August 18, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Not a lot to say about that one except I agree…..


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      That’ll do! 🙂 Thanks, as always, for reading!!


  3. egills August 18, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    I suppose in my senility ( you know I had to look that word up, and I don’t think it exists for humans but I’m still going with it )… um….. what was I going to say? Oh bother..

    Oh knitting’s good 😀


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      It absolutely exists for humans! Just look at you! 😛


  4. thesinglecell August 18, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    My mother does this. “Did I tell you this?” she’ll ask. And we’ll politely muse, “Yeah, mmmhmm,” And she’ll retell it. And we have to listen. Because she’s our mother. And I always wonder the same thing you do: “We’ve just established that you told us this already. Why are you telling it again?” You know what? That’s rude, isn’t it? To force someone to listen to you again and make up some fabricated amused reaction for your benefit. Rude! Cut them off entirely, Jackie! Do it!


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:32 am #

      Incredibly rude. I have suggestions to do a “thumbs up” system, slap them in the face, or just cut them off altogether. I wonder which I’ll go with…


  5. Snigdha Srivastava August 18, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    You are so right.. listening to the same story again and again is indeed such an irritating waste of time.. Loved that expression “I am really trying to cut the metaphorical fat”.. ahehhehee 😀


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks! Tell “Missjlouise” how upset it makes you – she’s admitting to being a repeat offender.


  6. Missjlouise August 18, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    LOL you have just described me …. I even laugh really loud to convince myself everyone else is laughing as loud as me lol


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      You must stop immediately. Read through these comments for examples of how upset it makes people. LOL

      To each her own, I suppose 😉


  7. Jules August 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    OH MY GOD!! HAhahahaha. Dragonball Z reference was spot on. Well done Jackie. Now be nice and don’t go super saiyan on these time wasting offenders.


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      Jules, you’re the nerdiest and perhaps the most kindred spirit of my readers. So glad someone got that reference. 😉


  8. Kristen Fairgrieve August 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! this drives me crazy!! i just want to slap them across the face and then just walk away. like *slap*. *turn*. *walk*. you can picture it can’t you


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      yes, I certainly can. I like that system, too. repeat a story when I’ve already indicated you told me before, and get a slap in the face.


  9. Neeka August 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    I hate people who do that! One of my friends constantly says:
    “I told you this before. So the guy’s all ______!!! HILARIOUS, RIGHT?”
    She repeats BOTH jokes and stories. 😦 Pisses me off.


  10. sinavratil August 18, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    I agree with you! My dad is a habitual offender of this behavior – so much so that at the dinner table, we would all just put our thumbs up on the table to tell him we heard the story. If all 6 of us had our thumbs up he would immediately stop telling the story. It was a good system and saved hours of my life!


    • Jackie August 20, 2011 at 10:28 am #

      haha how awesome. that’s a great system and a hilarious picture.


  11. Lee August 19, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    lol you could do what my 5 year-old newphew does, which is play stupid and pretend he didn’t hear it. I actualy continued doing this into my 20s. People would ask me if I grew up next to a airport because I would just zone people out lol


  12. pickle August 21, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    I read this post. Then I went to a party with friends in which this happened. Exactly like you said. It was eerie.


  13. gypsy August 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Jackie.. I have to ask, do you know my brother? Or did you listen in on a phone call he & I have had?

    Background: I grew up in a seriously screwed up family, one where when I had to go over my family history with a psychologist (interview for adoption process) she ran out crying, and had to continue the interview on another day.

    Alas.. with the screwed up family, also involves lots of distance.. miles & time. My brothers have not seen me for over 2 decades (well heck close to your life time).. But one brother & I keep in touch via phone.. the calls are torture, he repeats verbatim the same stories over and over.. and tells me of his childhood & his parents as if I never grew up there too.

    So definitely know and understand the pain of talking to someone who seems more like they suffer braindamage (the sad thing is my oldest brother has suffered brain damage, the other one.. I have a money bet he has too).

    So there is your answer.. the repeaters.. they are braindamaged.. it is a matter of figuring out if they have any worth in your life to tolerate it (for me despite the issues I do love my brothers) but if it were an acquaintance, I don’t think I could bear with the repeats.. the reruns.. the retakes.. the do-overs.

    Feeling your pain!


    • Jackie August 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

      To answer your question – no. I do not know and have never known your brother. I also do not listen in on your phone calls, but I’m excited at the prospect of being able to do that to people. 🙂


      • gypsy August 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

        Hope I gave ya a good giggle.. alas there are many of these people .. maddening isn’t it?


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