There is no greater affliction in modern life than the tiresome talker. He talks incessantly. Presumably he talks in his sleep. Talking is his constant exercise and recreation. He thrives on it. He lives for talking's sake. He would languish if he were deprived of it for a single day. His continuous practice in talking enables him easily to outdistance all ordinary competitors. There is nothing which so completely unnerves him as long periods of silence. He has the talking habit in its most virulent form.
The trifling talker is equally objectionable. He talks much, but says little. He skims over the surface of things, and is timid of anything deep or philosophical. He does not tarry at one subject. He talks of the weather, clothes, plays, and sports. He puts little meaning into what he says, because there is little meaning in what he thinks. He cannot look at anything seriously. Nothing is of great significance to him. He is in the class of featherweights.
The tedious talker is one without terminal facilities. He talks right on with no idea of objective or destination. He rises to go, but he does not go. He knows he ought to go, but he simply cannot. He has something more to say. He keeps you standing half an hour. He talks a while longer. He assures you he really must go. You tell him not to hurry. He takes you at your word and sits down again. He talks some more. He rises again. He does not know even now how to conclude. He has no mental compass. He is a rudderless talker.
Probably the most obnoxious type is the tattling talker. He always has something startlingly personal to impart. It is a sacred secret for your ear. He is a wholesale dealer in gossip. He fairly smacks his lips as he relates the latest scandal. He is an expert embellisher. He adroitly supplies missing details. He has nothing of interest in his own life, since he lives wholly in the lives of others. He is a frightful bore, but you cannot offend him. He is adamant.
There is the tautological talker, or the human self-repeater. He goes over the ground again and again lest you have missed something. He is very fond of himself. He tells the same story not twice, but a dozen times. |You may have heard this before,| says he, |but it is so good that it will bear repetition.| He tries to disguise his poverty of thought in a masquerade of ornate language. If he must repeat his words, he adds a little emphasis, a flourishing gesture, or a spirit of nonchalance.
Again, there is the tenacious talker, who refuses to release you though you concede his arguments. When all others tacitly drop a subject, he eagerly picks it up. He is reluctant to leave it. He would put you in possession of his special knowledge. You may successfully refute him, but he holds firmly to his own ideas. He is positive he is right. He will prove it, too, if you will only listen. He knows that he knows. You cannot convince him to the contrary, no indeed. He will talk you so blind that at last you are unable to see any viewpoint clearly.
A recognized type is the tactless talker. He says the wrong thing in the right way, and the right thing in the wrong way. He is impulsive and unguarded. He reaches hasty conclusions. He confuses his tactlessness with cleverness. He is awkward and blundering. His indifference to the rights and feelings of others is his greatest enemy. He is a stranger to discretion. He speaks first, and thinks afterwards. He may have regrets, but not resolutions. He is often tolerated, but seldom esteemed.
The temperamental talker is one of the greatest of nerve-destroyers. He deals in superlatives. He views everything emotionally. He talks feelingly of trifles, and ecstatically of friends. He gushes. He flatters. To him everything is |wonderful,| |prodigious,| |superb,| |gorgeous,| |heavenly,| |amazing,| |indescribable,| |overwhelming.| Extravagance and exaggeration permeate his most commonplace observations. He is an incurable enthusiast.
The tantalizing talker is one who likes to contradict you. He divides his attention between what you are saying and what he can summon to oppose you. He dissents from your most ordinary observations. His favorite phrases are, |I don't think so,| |There is where you are wrong,| |I beg to differ,| and |Not only that.| Tell him it will be a fine day, and he will declare that the signs indicate foul weather. Say that the day is unpromising, and he will assure you it does not look that way to him. He cavils at trifles. He disputes even when there is no antagonist.
To listen to the tortuous talker is a supreme test of patience. He slowly winds his way in and out of a subject. He traverses by-paths, allowing nothing to escape his unwearied eye. He goes a long way about, but never tires of his circuitous journey. Ploddingly and perseveringly he zigzags from one point to another. He alters his course as often as the crooked way of his subject changes. He twists, turns, and diverges without the slightest inconvenience to himself. He likes nothing better than to trace out details. His talking disease is discursiveness.
The tranquil talker never hurries. He has all the time there is. If you are very busy he will wait. He is uniformly moderate and polite. He is a rare combination of oil, milk, and rose-water. He would not harm a syllable of the English language. His talking has a soporific effect. It acts as a lullaby. His speech is low and gentle. He never speaks an ill-considered word. He chooses his words with measured caution. He is what is known as a smooth talker.
The torpedo talker is of the rapid fire explosive variety. He bursts into a conversation. He scatters labials, dentals, and gutturals in all directions. He is a war-time talker, -- boom, burst, bang, roar, crash, thud! He fills the air with vocal bullets and syllabic shrapnel. He is trumpet-tongued, ear-splitting, deafening. He fires promiscuously at all his hearers. He rends the skies asunder. He is nothing if not vociferous, stentorian, lusty. He demolishes every idea in his way. He is a Napoleon of words.
The tangled talker never gets anything quite straight. He inevitably spoils the best story. He always begins at the wrong end. Despite your protests of face and manner he talks on. He talks inopportunely. He becomes inextricably confused. He is weak in statistics. He has no memory for names or places. He lacks not fluency but accuracy. He is a twisted talker.
The triumphant talker lays claim to the star part in any conversation. He likes nothing better than to drive home his point and then look about exultingly. He says gleefully, |I told you so.| That he can ever be wrong is inconceivable to him. He knows the facts since he can readily manufacture them himself. He is self-satisfied, for in his own opinion he has never lost an argument. He is a brave and bold talker.
These, then, are some types of talking which we should not emulate. Study the list carefully -- the tiresome talker, the trifling talker, the tedious talker, the tattling talker, the tautological talker, the tenacious talker, the tactless talker, the temperamental talker, the tantalizing talker, the tangled talker, the triumphant talker -- and guard yourself diligently against the faults which they represent. Talking should always be a pleasure to the speaker and listener, never a bore.