General Etiquette > general

Annoying "prologues" to conversations

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There is a habit that some people have that annoys the you-know-what out of me.  I’ve tried to nicely, gently, politely point it out but so bar, nothing has worked.

Specifically, as soon as we connect (in person, via phone, even email) they spend considerable time either telling me how busy they’ve been or otherwise giving excuses about why we haven’t connected sooner.

I want to point out that these are not cases where I’m expressing disappointment that we haven’t connected earlier.  I haven’t asked “why haven’t I heard from you sooner?” or anything like that.  Not at all.  And these are people I like – a lot.  But it really grates on my nerves when they go on about their schedules or start reciting all the things they had to deal with over that past few weeks, days, hours, etc.

Example:  Sunday evening I called one friend just to touch base, say thanks for the Christmas card, and also to see if Mary was aware of the recent death of a mutual acquaintance.  No answer so I left a message :Hi, John and Mary.  It’s oceanus.  Hope your 2013 has been happy so far.  Wondering if you saw X’s obituary.  Give me a call whenever you have a chance.”

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Mary.  She sounded kind of rushed, said she was busy at work, went into quite a long thing about the specifics of the project she was working on, then jumped right into how she had company over the weekend and she and John went out to dinner Sunday night, and she tried to find my email address but couldn’t.  Finally we talked for a couple of minutes, then I said “Well, I’ll let you go”.

(Even if she had waited until later this week to call, it wouldn’t have been a problem.)

A relative of mine is worse.  Although I really enjoy talking to her, she always starts the conversation with a rundown of practically every little thing she’s done over the past week or two, and she usually ends with  “and so I thought to myself, I really have to call oceanus”.  Then, I say “Oh, no biggie” and we actually have a conversation.

It's like they feel they need to make excuses or convince me they're busy.  To me, that not necessary because I know and respect that we all have other things to do, and I don't expect to be priority #1 in these folk's lives.

So……….., is there a better way to handle this, or should it be shrugged off and put into the “such is life” category?

I vote for "shrug it off and put into the 'such is life' category"

This behavior sounds more annoying than rude.  Outside of saying "Don't worry about it.  You don't have to give me a reason for not calling sooner, I know we are all busy" after they are done, there's not much you can do.

I once had a co-worker who before telling you a story about someone had to give their enitre life history as a prelude to the story.  It was extremely annoying and I didn't initiate a lot of conversations with her.

This is an interesting observation - and I think I'm guilty of doing this occasionally.  Usually it's when I really feel like I've been neglecting a friend and I want to make sure they're not hurt (because naturally I'm the most important thing in their life  ::) ). 

Brushing it off does seem like the best option, and I'm going to work on not doing this in the future.


--- Quote from: DollyPond on January 15, 2013, 10:51:43 AM ---I once had a co-worker who before telling you a story about someone had to give their enitre life history as a prelude to the story.  It was extremely annoying and I didn't initiate a lot of conversations with her.

--- End quote ---

You get this in customer service fairly often. "So, my sister and her husband got was because he wanted to keep his velociraptor collection in the living room...and I remembered she didn't have a phone because her son decided to ballet dance on it a few months ago...oh yeah, that's another reason they got divorced, he was mad that she took the kid to ballet anyway, I was eating lunch the other day, and it was a lovely shrimp etouffee, and while I was sitting there I thought, why don't I give Sis my old phone? So I had to go to yoga class after work--I have a lovely instructor, she's so inspirational--and then after that, I went to Sis's house and gave her the phone. Well, it turns out that the battery is dead. What aisle are the batteries in?"


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