Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Overtalking by Pastor Jeff Kinne
To be honest, most of us do it on occasion. It happens between neighbors when someone talks too long. Been there. Done that.
It happens at church when someone overshares about something of little interest to you. Been there too . . . on both sides.
It happens in meetings when someone thinks they know best and needs to impart this knowledge in great detail. Please deliver me from these situations!
It happens when we’re anxious, excited, nervous and chatter annoyingly, excessively. Check.
It happens when we overshare a particular point, . . . with too many details, . . . and meaningless repetition.
The reasons for overtalking are many. Sometimes it comes from a deep sense of inadequacy. Sometimes it’s an off balanced attempt to connect. For some who think out loud, the stream of verbal sharing is their way of exploring ideas and thoughts. For introverts, overtalking can fill particularly comfortable spots.
Talking over someone, saying too much, or talking too long about something - most of us are guilty of this from time to time. Overtalking happens when that becomes our norm. For some, it can even become compulsive. “Talkaholism” is extreme overtalking, talking a lot more than others in every situation and continuing even when they know they should stop.
Men, researchers say, are the champions of overtalking and talking over. We “mansplain,” “manterrupt,” and give “manalogues.” And it’s hard not to in a world where success is measured by the amount of attention we can attract.
Scripture encourages us to weigh our words, to think before we speak. There is a “time to be silent” said Solomon, “and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 7) In other words, pay attention to why you speak the way you do. Become conscious of something that usually happens automatically. Why am I saying what I’m saying? Where are these words coming from and what will be their impact.
It sounds contradictory, but sometimes silence is the best approach to conversation. The wise man said that keeping your lips zipped stops hasty, hurtful and misguided words. (Prov. 10:19) He also suggested that silence, on occasion, is more wise than any words that could be spoken. (Prov. 17: 28) So, develop word discipline.
Finally, focus on listening and asking questions rather than supplying information, remedies, and prescriptions. James, the brother of Jesus, recommends that we be “quick to hear, slow to speak.” (James 1:19) Switch the conversation away from yourself to others. When we listen, we value and esteem others above ourself. That was Jesus’ way.
Overtalking is epidemic today. Run from it. Be blessed and a blessing.