Have you ever feel like you are stuck in an endless conversation really you are not interested in? Yes you are not alone.

This is a very common situation and there are two reasons why it happened:

  1. People don’t know when to shut up and when to talk.
  2. People often hide their true feelings about ongoing conversations.

when to shut up

Adam Mastroianni and his team from the Department of Psychology at Harvard University explored the dynamics of the conversations. 2 experiments were carried out. In the first, 806 participants were asked to answer questions about the duration of their last speech and how the conversation was terminated.

In the second experiment, which was carried out in the laboratory environment, 252 participants were divided into groups of two people who did not know each other and these couples were asked to chat with each other. The subjects had conversations in which they could talk from one minute to 45 minutes on any topic they wanted. After these conversations, each of which was recorded, the participants were asked when they preferred to finish the conversation, and they were asked to make a guess as to what the other party’s answer could be to this question.

Ultimately, the researchers found that only 2 percent of the conversations were terminated when both sides wanted, and 30 percent when one of the parties wanted. In about half of the conversations, it was seen that both parties wanted to cut the conversation short, but their cutoff points was different. Participants in both studies reported, on average, that the desired length of their conversation was about half of its actual length.

However, the finding that really surprised the researchers was that the situation of people being held in words and “taken prisoner” was not always the case. Observed that 10 percent of those participating in both experiments actually wanted to keep the conversations longer, and approximately 31 percent of the interactions between strangers, at least one of the two wanted to continue.

In the research, it was found that the vast majority of people failed to guess what the other party wanted, and 64% of the subjects were wrong in their predictions about when the other party might want to stop talking.

“People are quite adept at not expressing their true feelings, as they perceive it as a shameful act that interrupts social relations, saying ‘you want to keep talking, but I have to go,” says Mastorianni.

“It is an extremely surprising and important finding that people are so unsuccessful in predicting when to interrupt the conversation,” says Thalia Wheatley, a social psychologist at Dartmouth College. However, this connection is ultimately interrupted as we do not know when to stop. One of the reasons why people like to chat over coffee, drinks, or meals is probably because of this confusing situation. Because empty cups, glasses, or the waiter bringing the bill are the reasons we’ve created to end the conversation, ”he says.

In the nascent science of speech, such rigorous descriptive research as well as causal experiments that can help identify important and common difficulties of speech are also needed.

Isn’t it strange that we are just beginning to understand how people talk to each other at a time when we were sending rovers to Mars?

I saved the best quote can be ‘punchquote’ for the final. Nicholas Epley ,who is a behavioral scientist at the University of Chicago, wonders what would happen if most of the conversations were terminated at exactly the moment we wanted and asks,

How many new insights, novel perspectives or interesting facts of life have we missed because we avoided a longer or deeper conversation that we might have had with another person?

In communication, diction is important. If you want the last article about it, you can reach here.

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