Dear Awesome Advice Central,
Big surprise here, but I need your help. Yeah, I know, I know, everyone who writes to you needs help, so why even bother to tell you in my preface? Probably because I have a bad case of Can’tShutUp-itis and I feel the need to over-explain every thought in my head.
Which is what I need help about. My head. And my unfortunate ability to say stupid things and then be unable to shut up.
I really just cannot seem to zip it when I need to.
I’d recently been hired at a pretty fancy office. They had drinks parties every Friday and I knew my boss’s boss would be there.
I wanted to make a good impression early, see? Get in quick, while I was still the New Kid, and wow her with my good looks, astute brain and confident personality. I saw her across the room (my boss’s boss, right?) and she was having a glass of wine, talking to her friends.
I decided to introduce myself straight away, before I got shy or nervous. Because when I get that way, bad things happen.
As I got closer to her, I thought, “Haha, how funny, the way the light’s shining on her glass, it looks like she’s got no fingers on her right hand ! Haha, that’s weird!”
I decided to use that thought as my opening gambit.
Turns out she has no fingers. Awkward!
I stayed at that job for 5 days.
I applied for a job at a big bank. I’d just graduated from school and this was my first ever “real” job.
I was going for a middle-management position and during the interview,the interviewer asked me what I hoped to be doing in 5 years’ time.
Without even taking a breath, I spat out that I hoped to run a sanctuary for older dogs that no one wants to adopt. I swear, I don’t know where this came from. I don’t even like dogs.
Trying to get the subject back to finance and banking, I kept talking about how I’d open a hotel for mature dogs, and would sell woolen clothes for them to keep warm in winter. I’d call it Stitches for Bitches.
The whole time I was talking, I could see the stunned look on the interviewer’s face. My brain was shouting at me, “Zip it, ixnay, just stop talking, you tool!“
My brain was right. I didn’t get the job.
About 10 years ago, a woman in my choir turned 40. Everyone was congratulating her and she was lapping up the attention and praise.
I walked up to her, intending to do the same thing: wish her happy birthday and say I hoped she was having a good day, and such.
Instead, I said, “Happy birthday! Wow, I didn’t realize you were so old!” Her face fell. She looked like she was going to hit me.
I had to find a way out so started telling her that she was still hot and that I bet there’d be plenty of guys who’d still be interested in her.
Yeah. It was bad. Très awkward, in fact.
I walked away from that one with a limp, a black eye, and a warning never to come back.
Can you help? This disability of mine is preventing me from getting a good job, having an active social life, and finding a husband/boyfriend. Or boyfriend/husband. Whatever.
Anyway, any advice you can toss me, I’d be glad to accept.
Ah, Jeane, Jeane….
We sympathize, really we do.
You see, from time to time certain people have accused us of unwonted verbosity…not that it’s true, of course, we just tell it like it is, but the accusation stings, doesn’t it?
We mean, we say nothing that is not for the ultimate good and benefit of our dear readers, and our advice is always (we firmly believe) temperate and moderate and a whole bunch of other words ending in -ate. We are, you might say, tough but fair. Kindly but plain-spoken. We tell it like it is. We don’t mince words. We are dedicated to the well-being of those who bring us their difficulties, and if that takes us a little over our specified word count, well, so be it. Damn the torpedoes!
Also our editor, who keeps imploring us to cut it short. But no! We will not be silenced!
So, as we say, we sympathize with your plight. To a point.
You see, while our verbal excesses can be justified by the fact that we are, in fact, trained professionals with years of experience and many, many pool boys behind us, you, my dear, are not.
In fact, your running off at the mouth seems to be explained the plain fact that you have little of interest to say, but you feel compelled to say it at length. Also, the filter between your brain and your mouth seems to be missing. Or at least defective.
So, the question remains, what to do? How to solve your unfortunate tendency to ramble, to prevaricate, to fabricate social faux pas where none had existed before?
Of course, we have the answer. We were just waiting for the right point to interject it.
Are you ready? Here goes:
Yes, we believe it’s the only answer. Since you seem unable to control your verbal diarrhea by dint of clamping your lips shut and putting a lid on it, duct tape is really your only recourse.
Buy a large roll, keep it in your handbag, and when you feel the urge to speak come over you, whip it out and apply it liberally to your labial area.
(No, not that labial area. The one on your face. The other will do you no good at all, since nymphomania does not seem to be among your problems. At least, not that we know of.)
There, now. Go, and speak no more.
Awesome Advice Central