The Subtle Art of Shutting Up

What a coincidence. I take a short hiatus, and the first thing I write about upon returning is silence.

Face it—we all know people who occasionally just need to shut up. Ever wonder if you’re one of those people? Take a gander through the following scenarios… and find out.

For the Love of Christmas, Please Stop Talking to Any Given Person When

  1. They are clearly watching the last 15 minutes of a movie, TV show, game, or finale of any kind.
  2. They are clearly about to shut the bathroom door.
  3. They clearly have neither responded, gotten a word in edgewise, or even ventured a glance at you in the last ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Three hours.
  4. They are clearly lost while driving and require every inch of brain to unravel heinous highway conundrums while avoiding onslaughts of minivan moms.
  5. They are clearly glancing around the library/church/classroom/conference room to confirm that everyone but you has noticed how loud you are.
  6. They are clearly wearing earphones.
  7. They are clearly reading the last 50 pages of a book.
  8. They are clearly silent after you make several strong statements about politics, religion, or all the stuff you can’t stand about That Guy.
  9. Luke is clearly about to learn Darth Vader is dear ol’ pa.
  10. The lady’s screaming toddler has clearly–and finally– fallen asleep.
  11. They have clearly commenced doing the pee-pee dance.
  12. They are clearly immobile, waiting for you to wrap up your conversation about grandkids and step out of the middle of the grocery aisle so they can buy their Metamucil.
  13. They are clearly delivering the holiest of altar calls.
  14. They are clearly asleep. Or freshly awakened.
  15. They just jacked up radio volume and clearly announced this song as their favorite.
  16. They are clearly inching forward in the car while you lean your bad self in the window and prattle on.
  17. They seem interested in what you’re saying, but have clearly ceased breathing. This means your breath is so heinous, you could level tall buildings with the word “Huh.”
  18. You insist on telling/retelling that joke or story that–clearly–no one but you finds funny.
  19. You are trying to converse with someone who clearly wants to sleep between departure and O’Hare.
  20. They are clearly eating something crunchy. News flash: if they’re munching cereal or potato chips, they can’t hear you.
  21. You are rambling on about any body part (form or function, yours or otherwise) ordinarily covered by a bathing suit–and are clearly sitting in your office chair at work.
  22. When someone makes a point, you respond with 4 or 5 points. This is like hitting five subsequent tennis balls at your opponent during a match. It’s overkill, Honeybunch.

Are you an offender? When is the worst time for someone to monopolize your attention?


Photo courtesy Becca Upchurch, Upchurch Studios Copyright 2011. May not be used or reprinted without permission.


19 thoughts on “The Subtle Art of Shutting Up

  1. Jen says:

    These were fabulous!!!! As a person who frequently self-monitors (but possibly less-frequently succeeds) in this area, I am inspired! Your picture of people popping their heads inside an inching vehicle made me giggle. Actually quite a lot of this made me giggle or nod in agreement at my computer screen.

    Another time when people tend to over-blab? When they’re trying too hard to impress. If you’re super hard trying to prove your greatness and they say “Dude. Got it.” with quite a bit of finality, that’s another opportunity to shut it! 🙂

  2. thechurchinthemirror says:

    I was guilty of it this past weekend…with this author! Sorry, Teri!

    At work, I’ll give all the clues: looking around, fidgeting with something, taking small steps away from the person and toward elsewhere, try to interject wrap up statements like “well, i guess i’ll—” before they keep going and going. Sometimes the only salvation is the phone ringing!

  3. Rachel Grima says:

    I can so relate to this as a victim not an offender! I giggled at almost every point and they reminded me of how annoying my parents and sister can be when it’s clear that they should shut up!

  4. cqsteve says:

    Ah Indy, I shall clearly have to pass your list on to my lovely wife. She is guilty of numbers 1 & 15 in particular. (Often at the last play in a tied game). To be honest I have realised that I am guility of 5 & 6, so will `fess up to that much.

    • indyink says:

      ChurchintheMirror…. Oh. I guess that technically qualifies? But I had had coffee. So I was actually connecting a bit with what you were saying. LOL

  5. Matt says:

    Great post! My personal fav is #11. It really chaps my ass when I’m at a urinal and the guy next to me is looking at me, trying to maintain some sort of banter.

    The worst time to try and talk to me is right when I get out of bed. I’m un-caffeinated, and I have barely gotten the eye-boogers out of my eyes. No one, should be talking to anyone until the coffee is brewing.

    It amazes me at how many ‘noise addicts’ can be a part of your life without you even realizing it.

  6. says:

    The worst time for me to be interrupted is when I’m at the computer trying to write a post, or reading someone else’s blog. Rude, rude, rude; and my husband and son bug me all the time! Funny this is they don’t want anything to do with me till I’m on the computer.

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