“Very pleasant, very pleasant,” the man said, “but he talks too much.”
Not long after this the other guest accosted him unexpectedly in the street “For Heaven’s sake, don’t ask me to dine with that Smith again—why, I could not get a word in edgewise.”
Now, if only for selfish reasons a man might realize that he needs to absorb as well as give out, and so could make himself listen in order to be sure that his neighbor did not get ahead of him. But a conceited man, a self-centered man or a great talker will seldom or never listen.
That being the case, what can you expect of a woman who is a nervous talker? The more tired such a woman is the more she talks; the more ill she is the more she talks. As the habit of nervous talking grows upon a woman it weakens her mind. Indeed, nervous talking is a steadily weakening process.
Some women talk to forget. If they only knew it was slow mental suicide and led to worse than death they would be quick to avoid such false protection. If we have anything we want to forget we can only forget it by facing it until we have solved the problem that it places before us, and then working on, according to our best light: We can never really cover a thing up in our minds by talking constantly about something else.
Many women think they are going to persuade you of their point of view by talking. A woman comes to you with her head full of an idea and finds you do not agree with her. She will talk, talk, talk until you are blind and sick and heartily wish you were deaf, in order to prove to you that she is right and you are wrong.
She talks until you do not care whether you are right or wrong. You only care for the blessed relief of silence, and when she has left you, she has done all she could in that space of time to injure her point of view. She has simply buried anything good that she might have had to say in a cloud of dusty talk.
It is funny to hear such a woman say after a long interview, “Well, at any rate, I gave him a good talking to. I guess he will go home and think about it.”
Think about it, madam? He will go home with an impression of rattle and chatter and push that will make him dread the sight of your face; and still more dread the sound of your voice, lest he be subjected to further interviews. Women sit at work together. One woman talks, talks, talks until her companions are so worn with the constant chatter that they have neither head nor nerve enough to do their work well. If they know how to let the chatter go on and turn their attention away from it, so that it makes no impression, they are fortunate indeed, and the practice is most useful to them. But that does not relieve the strain of the nervous talker herself; she is wearing herself out from day to day, and ruining her mind as well as hurting the nerves and dispositions of those about her who do not know how to protect themselves from her nervous talk.