Do you remember the song by Run-D.M.C, “You Talk Too Much“? I’m reminded of that song as I sit here in a coffee shop trying to study. Not because it’s playing over the sound system but because there is someone who is… talking too much. Sitting at a table near me is a middle aged lady with a young woman in her early 20’s. I’m not eavesdropping, I promise, but their conversation caught my attention because this young lady is talking non-stop. It’s obvious they’re Christians and the older lady has come to mentor the young lady. The mentor is doing great job listening, asking probing questions trying to get the young lady’s faith story. But the younger lady won’t shut up. She’s talking fast, non-stop and jumping from one subject to the next without even taking a breath. (It really is amazing).
While the young lady is loving this hour of undivided attention she’s jeopardizing the future of this relationship. You see, her incessant talking is an indication that she has no interest in learning or growing, she just wants someone who will listen to her. Eventually the mentor will see the investment of time isn’t yielding any fruit and will find a way to terminate the mentoring relationship.
If you have someone who has agreed to invest in you respect that individual by not talking too much. Here are a few tips that may help…
- Come to mentor meetings prepared with subjects that you want to discuss or questions you want to ask.
- A good mentor will ask you questions and probe into your life but avoid talking too much without seeking their input, impressions or advice.
- Give the mentor permission up front to let you know when you are talking too much.
- Ask yourself “Why do I talk too much?” Is it a part of your personality? Is it pride? Are you doing it to cover up insecurities? If you recognize why you talk to much you have a better chance of changing that behavior.
- Recognize that you express respect and gratitude when you listen to the individual who has chosen to invest time in mentoring you. Honor them by making sure you listen well.
This young lady has some real struggles in her life. For her sake I hope the mentoring relationship continues. But sadly her desire to be heard supersedes her desire to grow, so my sense is this relationship will be short-lived. Unfortunatley she will miss a valuable opportunity to learn and grow.
Check back tomorrow as I share a few tips for mentors who are working with someone who talks too much.