Conversation Hog Syndrome

There exists a disease that can unknowingly creep up on us I refer to as the Conversation Hog Syndrome (CHS). CHS creates a deep urge in the listener to say something to compete with the speaker’s sharing time. Other symptoms include… thinking of what to say next, abruptly interrupting the speaker, and offering advice when none was asked. Then, unfortunately, the listener would be disengaged from the conversation without knowing it.

Sometimes, when we have problems, want to vent or share an interesting story…we just want someone to be present and listen….., not compete or provide advice. In short, we want someone to be actively listening and being in the present with our conversation. The only time that is excusable for competitive stories would be those in elementary and sharing stories on the playground.

As we mature and gain more insight on the human condition and need, we must be more respectful and mindful of our actions. With diligent practice and awareness, we are able to stop CHS in its tracks and be an actively engaged listener. You have two choices…the first choice would be to show off and show how smart you are by having a quick or competitive response to the speaker or the second choice would be to show your appreciation for the speaker, be an engaged listener and let them shine. By being an active listener, not only will CHS be cured…you will have created a lasting memory of what a great conversationalist you are and the experience you provided.


  • While you are telling your story, how does it feel when someone is competing against your story?
  • When someone else speaks, are you thinking about what to say next?
  • What can we do to improve our active listening skills?
  • Why is it important to be present when listening?
  • Can there be times where someone just want to talk without the other person offering a solution?

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Debra Nelson

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