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I have a disease. There is no cure, but there is a treatment.
I tend to add to class discussions. A lot.
Some people would call this verbal diarrhea, but I prefer the term verbal superfluity.
While this is wonderful for participation points, it prevents some classmates from answering and may simply be annoying to others.
Perhaps it is because I suffer from this need to answer all questions from the professor that I recognize the behavior in others.
Fortunately, it is treatable.
The first step is, of course, admitting there is a problem. If people roll their eyes, and you can see them thinking, “Here we go again. More comments from the peanut gallery,” this should be a clue. Another clue is found by comparing how much you talk with how much others add to the discussion. If you talk as much as or more than the professor, you may want to seek professional help or change your major to education so it counts as practice.
The next step is gaining the support of friends and fellow classmates. Find somebody you trust to remind you, kindly, that you need to work and play well with others. This can take place in a nudge, a cough, a code word or an outright slap.
The third step is to listen. There is a time and place for everything. You’d be surprised how much more you learn and how much more you can add to a discussion when you listen to others.
The fourth step is to simplify and improve your statements. Make sure what you are saying has a definite point that is stated before you give the reasoning behind it. Use words in the correct context and pay attention to grammar. Keep it short and simple. If you don’t want to listen to another classmate give their opinion for five minutes, you should give the class the same courtesy.
The final step is to remember who you are. Never feel as though you have to be quiet because you talked a lot during class last week. Talk and add to the discussion, but just remember that other people also have opinions and hope for the same opportunity.
These are a few things I’ve found helpful during past years as I try to overcome this childhood illness. While the repercussions of being an irritating commentator still pop up every once in a while, the need to talk is slowly ebbing away.