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What causes people to ramble?

  1. Mar 5, 2008 #1

    ShawnD

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    I was talking to my dad about alcoholism in the construction industry (long story), and he ended up talking about an old Chinese guy who lived in the town where he grew up, which had absolutely nothing to do with the conversation. This seems to happen every time I talk to him. We'll talk about something, and he ends up talking about his work, or some guy he knew, or something he heard, or some other thing that is totally unrelated to what we were talking about originally. It's not a smooth transition either; it would be comparable to having a thread about physics and some guy posts something about Paris Hilton.

    One of my best friends does this too. A conversation will be about something like a TV show, and he somehow ends up talking about the different kinds of paint, and how it's made, and what the properties are. That's his job btw. He works in a paint factory.

    One of my mom's friends is really bad for derailing conversations, but it's very apparent that she has ADD (real ADD, not the fake ADD kids have caused by lack of parenting).
    My dad and friend do not have ADD or anything similar. They're both the kinds of people who will make a list of things they want on their sub sandwich, just to make sure they don't screw it up. Basically they are the exact opposite of ADD.


    Is there some underlying medical cause for people rambling, or are they just *******s?
     
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  3. Mar 5, 2008 #2
    I know a few people that ramble. As you said they will talk about one subject and then suddenly shift gears into a totally separate issue. It reminds me of a guy that used to post on here. Every time he would post something off topic to the conversation, luckily the banned him though. There is another guy who posts like this, and I hope he gets banned as well. I could just put him on my ignore list, but sometimes he does make good posts, so its hard to say. Personally, I dont like having that many people on the ignore list. Though to be fair, there are many people who do make good posts, so he is one of the few people on here that post like that. Id say the best person to post these days is Marlon. He really puts alot of thought behind all his posts, which is nice. What were we talking about again?
     
  4. Mar 5, 2008 #3

    wolram

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    I used to go rambling, there is nothing like fresh air and the joys of the countryside.
     
  5. Mar 5, 2008 #4

    lisab

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    There's a guy at my work who will park himself in someone's office and tell the same stories, over and over. It doesn't help if you remind him he's told it before, he'll just laugh and keep going...if you tell him you really need to focus on your work, same thing...he just talks and talks :grumpy: !
     
  6. Mar 6, 2008 #5
    My dad sort of does something like that.

    I ask him a simple question. Starting with "What is..." or "How do I..." So naturally, he starts at the very beginning. "Well you know, son, it starts with blah blah blah, and in turn that blah blah blah." He can never get to the damn point.

    What's more, after he FINALLY answers my question, HE KEEPS TALKING! He keeps going on and on, even though I have my answer and I don't care about that topic any more.

    Everybody says the same thing about him. He is just incapable of being concise.
     
  7. Mar 6, 2008 #6

    ShawnD

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    Oh god, that's 10x worse.

    poop, is your dad a very disorganized person by any chance? Like start one thing and never finish, and just keep starting new things?
     
  8. Mar 6, 2008 #7
    Sort of. He never finishes anything, but then again, he never really starts anything, either. =/

    I am sort of like that, though, and I do have a tendency to ramble. I am just so self-conscious about myself that I tend to catch myself on it, though.
     
  9. Mar 6, 2008 #8

    Shooting Star

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    I have an elderly relative who used to do the same thing. Then one day I got fed up and said yes, I know joke #73, it's not funny, and then when he started to reply I said to others, hey guys, he's going to reply with story #59, remember how boring it is, like all his yarns. A couple of days of this treatment and he doesn't repeat his same old jokes, at least not in front of me any more.
     
  10. Mar 6, 2008 #9

    George Jones

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  11. Mar 6, 2008 #10
    The ability of human beings to associate one subject with another is a very valuable survival trait. It also would explain why people tend to ramble, as one subject highlights a link to another subject so people will become intent on pursuing something of a tangent, with some not always apparent link to the thread of conversation. Obviously this gives us the ability to take account of more related information, or to waffle on for hours about nothing. To be frank though I don't think that's a problem, the worst thing is when someone just will not stop going on some really tangential and dreary subject, until eventually you just get bored, and switch off, occasionally focusing in on what someone is saying. I have a friend like that it's not just the fact that he's got a really monotonous voice it just seems to be that he likes to discuss subjects that no one is interested in beyond a few points, getting more and more involved, without realising that no one is listening. I've tried telling him this but to no avail, he wont stop going on about say computers, which he knows everybody finds boring. Next thing you know you end up discussing boolean logic, at which point you fade out and start day dreaming about something else, like what to do later, if anyone has thought about dinner, and then before you know it, they've asked you a question and you have no idea what they've been waffling about for the past ten minutes. Still at least your dinner plans are sorted, and perhaps that bottle of wine you've been saving has finally been targeted for consumption. It's like that though, I mean have you ever tried having a conversation with an old lady, now sometimes I'm just in a hurry and they go on and on, about this and that, their dodgy hip, the weather, until politely as you can you extricate yourself from the situation. Then you're late for the bus, get into work late, your boss has a go at you, waffling on and on and you end up being annoyed for the rest of the morning, as well as subject to some long monotonous talk about how you should be more careful, blah, blah, blah. Still could be worse could be unemployed, my cousins out of work, terrible shame, bright chap used to work for one of the tobacco companies, got laid off when they closed down the labs, still sure he'll bounce back. Anyway, what was I talking about again?
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
  12. Mar 6, 2008 #11

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: Excellent example of a ramble.

    My take on it is if it's not just a natural shift in conversation (i.e., "oh, that reminds me of this time that...") then it's more likely the person is intentionally changing topics from something they don't understand/don't like talking about to something they do like talking about.

    The other kind of rambling that annoys me more are the long-winded filler details/set-up by someone who is staying on topic, but takes FOREVER to get to the point of the story. But, that's because I like to get to the punchline, know where the discussion is headed, and then gather additional details if I need them or am still interested. For example, if someone walks in with a broken leg and you ask what happened, the answer you want to know is, "I was in a car accident." You can then ask for more details, "When? Was anyone else hurt? Was it your car?"

    You aren't looking for, "Well....I overslept my alarm yesterday, and woke up with only 10 min to get ready for work, let the dog out while I hopped in the shower, and he decided to take off,"

    ...and you ask,"Oh, did you fall while you were chasing after the dog?"

    They continue, "No, no...I just spent another 10 min walking around the block calling for him, and while I was out trying to find him, my toaster got stuck, and it burnt the last piece of bread I had for toast, and was completely out of coffee, so stopped at the coffee shop. By then I was running a half hour late for work. Ran into Denise in there, do you remember her from..."

    And about 10 min into the story and after detailing their entire morning of completely irrelevant events, they finally get to "and as I was pulling into the parking lot at work, this guy came flying around the corner and slammed into my car."

    Edit: I should have read ALL the replies before posting...yes, poop-loops dad sounds exactly like the sort of person I'm describing above.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
  13. Mar 6, 2008 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Mom could take any discussion - politics, physics, environment, what the kids want for Christmas.... - and turn it into a Medical eligibility discussion. Then there was no escape.

    As for filler details... she is a master. It is possible to take any five word statement and make an entire conversation out of it without adding any siginficant information.
     
  14. Mar 6, 2008 #13

    Moonbear

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    Yes, my mom does that too. It drives me insane. On the other hand, when I call her, I can get plenty of other things done while mumbling, "Mmm hmmm" into the phone at appropriate intervals.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2008
  15. Mar 6, 2008 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    Ah, yes, the Mmmm [as if I'm paying attention sound]: I too have mastered this technique.

    btw, I should have said Medi-Cal, not Medical. She was an elegibility worker for the state.

    [sorry, I almost edited your post]
     
  16. Mar 6, 2008 #15

    ShawnD

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    This is very possible. Those two people who derail a lot are sort of loners who don't read stuff on the internet. Their only source of information is the TV.
     
  17. Mar 6, 2008 #16
    Well indeed, and the internet has spawned its own group of loners who only believe what they read in certain books, see on certain TV programs, and take to the internet to discuss, and not critically either. This tends to lead to conspiracy theorists, and not the kind of conspiracies that are plausible either, like the murder of Litvinenko, but Illuminati, 9/11 being a government conspiracy, UFO's covered up by those in power and so on.

    EDIT: I agree with Moonbear; we're all guilty of that to some extent though, sometimes changing from a subject we are woefully unaware of to something linked but in which we are on more solid ground, is another example.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
  18. Mar 6, 2008 #17

    lisab

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    Maybe it's loneliness...they're loners and they probably don't have many conversations with people.
     
  19. Mar 6, 2008 #18
    Haha.
     
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