Is It Me?

Sometimes I have interactions with people and I wonder if it is just me- am I just different from everyone else. I’m kind of a need to know person- when I ask for information, I’m just not looking for every damned detail under the sun, I just want to know what I need to know.

This is especially true for email- if someone can not tell me why they are contacting me in the first two sentences, I’ve already lost interest. I don’t need a five paragraph introduction- you contacted me, what the fuck do you want? And I don’t mean that in a nasty way, it’s just get to the damned point. I have a friend who, every time they need something, they call, and I can just hear it in their voice that they want something, but I am forced to sit there and ride through the five minutes of “how have you been how is this I was wondering would it be possible would you mind would it be ok I have a favor to ask” and 90% of the time I just interrupt them with “what do you want fer fuck’s sake?”

I mean I will do whatever they want if they can, it’s just the beating around the bush that makes me mental.






115 replies
  1. 1
    eemom says:

    what the fuck do you want? And I don’t mean that in a nasty way

    dunno if “it” is you, but pretty dang sure THIS is you. 😘😘😘

  2. 2
    No One of Consequence says:

    John Cole: you Magnificent Bastard you, saw me some Buttigieg footage from Mika and Fool today, and man, I will admit, my good sir, you were right.

    That Mayor is something. An obvious mind of significant depth.

    We should be so lucky.

    Thanks for turning me onto him,

    – NOoC

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    I have tendencies along those lines, but maybe not quite so severe. At least in emails, I can skim the verbiage; it’s a bit harder to do in an actual conversation…

  4. 4
    khead says:

    what the fuck do you want? And I don’t mean that in a nasty way, it’s just get to the damned point.

    How have you been? Also, give me some money.

  5. 5
    Grover Gardner says:

    You are not alone in this, John.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    Open thread?

    What do Minnie the Moocher, Gunsmoke and Schoolhouse Rock have in common?

    (BTW, there’s at least one typo in the article. The Gunsmoke episode dates from 1958, not 1952.)

  7. 7
    VeniceRiley says:

    Anytime my mom calls me to ask for something (either for her or one of my less fortunate sisters), I want to say “How much?” I can hear it in her voice that she is winding up a whole pitch about the item or emergency or whatever. Sometimes I do say it. Just tell me how much, mom.

  8. 8
    zhena gogolia says:

    @NotMax:

    Ooh, Stan Freberg.

  9. 9

    Is It Me?

    Nope, I’m the same way.

  10. 10
    hueyplong says:

    I’d advise the little ridgerunning kids in the neighborhood to simply tell JCole they intend to play on his lawn and not hem and haw with a bunch of polite introductions.

    What happens next is open to guesswork.

  11. 11
    Chacal Charles Calthrop says:

    You’d make a terrible Japanese. I studied Japanese one semester at college (no more, please!) and my instructor had written her senior thesis on how the Japanese “polite” linguistic tense actually did have an analogy in English — it’s just in English the “polite tense” was expressed as an excessive amount of working-the-way-around-to-the-topic language.

  12. 12
    lamh36 says:

    Curmudgeon…you are becoming Archie Bunker in your old age Cole…

  13. 13
    khead says:

    @NotMax:

    I’m not sure if I should respond with “Hi-dee, hi-dee, hi-dee, hi”, “I’m just a bill”, or “so good, so good, so good”.

    Pretty sure Mrs. Khead would go with “Girls just want to have fun.”

  14. 14
    JPL says:

    @lamh36: but more liberal. just sayin

  15. 15
    NotMax says:

    The willow is too close to the phone. And to the computer.

    :)

  16. 16

    @Chacal Charles Calthrop: My stepdaughter spent a long weekend in Tokyo a week and a half ago, she said that she found it interesting that there are no public trashcans. Everyone picks up their trash and carries it with them.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    JPL says:

    This is confusing.. Donald Trump erroneously says Lordstown workers could have saved plant by lowering union dues
    How would that work? This is another episode of Mr. Kellyanne is right.

  19. 19
    FelonyGovt says:

    That’s so my sister. She only calls when she wants something, but it takes at least 5 minutes of how-are-you-and-how’s-the-family-and-how’s-the-weather before she gets to the point.

  20. 20
    JPL says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Steven Miller.

    actually that would be pretty funny. Cole and Steven Miller in the same room. lol

  21. 21
    JPL says:

    John might have to change the have to had in the following paragraph.. just sayin

    I have a friend who, every time they need something, they call, and I can just hear it in their voice that they want something, but I am forced to sit there and ride through the five minutes of “how have you been how is this I was wondering would it be possible would you mind would it be ok I have a favor to ask” and 90% of the time I just interrupt them with “what do you want fer fuck’s sake?”

  22. 22
  23. 23
    WaterGirl says:

    You couldn’t tell us this 6 months ago?

  24. 24
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Y’know, Cole, polite conversation is how we grease the axles of society’s handcart. Or something like that.

    Your complaint reminds me of a “friend” who dropped out of sight once he got married, only to resurface about once a year, whenever he had a computer problem & thought I might be able to fix it for free. I don’t recall he ever spent more than 10 words inquiring about the state of my existence before proceeding to his difficulties. I guess you prefer it that way. IMHO any “friend” who can’t be arsed to treat me at least a little bit like a human being of value rather than a PC repair tech ain’t much of a “friend.”

  25. 25

    It is you. You need to take Small Talk 101.

  26. 26

    @lamh36: He was probably a curmudgeon in the cradle, we need to ask Mom Cole.

  27. 27
    danielx says:

    Cole, thy name is cantankerous.

  28. 28
    oldgold says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    Y’know, Cole, polite conversation is how we grease the axles of society’s handcart.

    This is hilarious on a couple of levels.

  29. 29
    MoxieM says:

    Yup it’s a thing. My mom did it, driving all of us nuts. “Excuse me, would you mind, could you do me a favor and pass the salt.” Just, “please pass the salt would be fine.” It was the same for everything, everything. Ugh. Also she was a monster, but that’s another topic for another day.

  30. 30
    The Dangerman says:

    TL; DR

  31. 31
    psycholinguist says:

    I had my faculty email set to only accept emails that end in .edu, and I still can’t dig myself out from under. John (and I’m the same way) have a strong favor for what Erving Goffman referred to as “negative face” We see being polite as leaving people alone to go about their business, and find it polite when people treat us the same. Communicating with someone by definition violates negative politeness or negative face, in that jit creates for the other person an obligation to respond. my guess is that if you went on a 1200 mile road trip with Cole, and uttered 3 words the whole time, he would think you are the nicest person who ever lived.

  32. 32
    Bill says:

    @eemom: But “it” isn’t “just” him. There are others like us. I’ve had commanders demand all communications use the BLUF format.

  33. 33
    Mary G says:

    Not going to link to it, but WaPo has let Charles Kushner have a place on the opinion page explain the “truth” about the family business, and how smart Jared is, and the 666 building was so not a loss, Whyyyyy.

    Off to leave a comment about sending a sex tape to your sister and how ex-felons should keep their mouths shut.

  34. 34
    B.B.A. says:

    Apparently Mike Gravel is running again. That 2008 campaign ad where he threw a rock into a pond is one for the history books.

  35. 35
    eemom says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    But there’s a difference between a friend asking a favor and somebody who’s proved themselves a non-friend who is obviously just using you. I’d tell the latter to fuck off. Or, if I wanted to be “polite,” I’d just ignore their calls.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @Mary G: Wow. . That is really unfortunate. It might deserve a comment or two.

  37. 37
    lamh36 says:

    Alright, alright…I’m going to Paris in November, but I’m not going alone…sis & her hubby, and my road dawg cuzo!!

    https://twitter.com/psddluva4evah/status/1108515085482373120

  38. 38
    laura says:

    There’s a Myers Briggs type made just for you! Took a Trade Union program and it included Myers Briggs. In revealing the “types” the facilitator had two of our colleagues leave the room and wait in a room with an item on a table -and when called back, to be prepared to describe said item. He then explained to the rest of the class that based upon the assessment, Eddie would use many, many descriptors while Kelly would simply identify the item.
    Sure enough, Eddie described a shiny, reddish green good-sized apple delicious looking, guaranteed to keep the doctor away. Kelly said “it’s an apple.”
    John Cole, you are Kelly.

  39. 39
    Amir Khalid says:

    For some of us it feels rude to skip the pleasantries and proceed straight to business. For others it feels rude to dwell on the polite nothings and not get to the point. And it’s not always easy to keep track of which kind of person one is calling.

    Is there a USB-powered air blower or something I can get to keep the vents on my laptop from getting clogged with dust? I’ve had problems this week with the fershlugginer device overheating and shutting down.

  40. 40
    Original Lee says:

    It’s not just you. Although I am situationally irritated, as opposed to across-the-board. If I haven’t talked with someone for 10 years, then I need to know why they decided to call ME all of a sudden FIRST. Once I know that, I’m cool with a certain amount of chit-chat and catching up. If it’s someone I see a couple of times a year, chit-chat first is OK, but not for very long. If it’s someone I see at least once a week, I’m right back to tell me WHY and then we can gossip. Usually the regulars are calling me because it’s urgent, so I don’t want my time on their problem cut short because they want to pussyfoot up to it.

  41. 41
    Lavocat says:

    You mean, like this blog post? Just fucking say it, Cole!

  42. 42
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @moldy-oldie: How nice – a timely reminder that there are those who richly deserve to be found crushed beneath the wheels of society’s handcart. Or something like that.

  43. 43
    ThresherK says:

    Re American geography and this subject so far.

    Lifelong Northeasterner who doesn’t make a lot of good smalltalk. I’m polite, but my face is often described as not happy-looking as I feel. Too much chatter gets on my nerves. Grateful I don’t get immersed into the South or the Midwest.

  44. 44
    psycholinguist says:

    @ThresherK: that’s not an issue in the midwest. Want to have your head explode? Go ask for directions in Mississippi from someone who doesn’t know how to get there. You won’t ever get that 20 minutes back.

  45. 45
    Mary G says:

    @JPL: The WaPo commenters are letting both Charles Kushner and the paper have it with both barrrels. My favorite

    In related news, WaPo hires Hannibal Lecter as food page editor.

  46. 46
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: In his defense, Charles Kushner’s sister is notoriously hard to shop for.

  47. 47

    @B.B.A.: He’s going to throw a semi into the pond this time.

  48. 48
    Currants says:

    Same page, John Cole. Same page. Although for me it might be the telephone, more. For some reason I always feel trapped when the phone rings and I answer. ……

  49. 49
    Currants says:

    @psycholinguist: LOL I could totally do that. First I was thinking “negative face? How about resting bitch face?” But then…you’re right. Great analysis.

  50. 50
    Zinsky says:

    Do you really need four paragraphs to tell us you are a grumpy old man?

  51. 51
    ThresherK says:

    @psycholinguist: Not snarking, genuine question: How many minutes does it take to leave a dinner party in the Midwest once someone has donned their coat?

  52. 52
    Jay says:

    @psycholinguist:

    Go ask for directions in the Maritimes. They’ll give you waypoints of buildings long gone, family farms long gone and significant events, long passed by, known only to 100 year locals,

    But no street names.

  53. 53
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Do you have a vacuum cleaner?

  54. 54
    Mike in NC says:

    Just got back from a neighbor’s 75th birthday party. Most of the 15 attendees were 75-80 years old and all were white. Very boring. At least nobody wore a MAGA cap.

  55. 55
    John Cole says:

    Recalling an infamous memory from basic training:

    Drill Sergeant: “Private Cole- do you know we do this (I forget what it was he was asking me)?”

    Me; “Yes, Drill Sergeant.”

    Drill Sergeant: “Would you like to explain to the rest of the platoon?”

    Me: “No, Drill Sergeant.”

    Drill Sergeant: “Private fucking Cole, explain to the platoon why we do this and then drop and just start doing push ups until I tell you to stop you are going to have arms like god damned tree trunks by the time I am done with you…”

  56. 56
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @psycholinguist: I once tried to explain to a woman friend how two dudes (me being one) could go on a 5-hour road trip, exchange a half-dozen words, get to the destination and say “huh, good trip.” This was beyond her comprehension.

  57. 57
    ThresherK says:

    @Jay: Oh, gawd, I love that universal action in theory but I don’t use it in practice. “Make a right at where the Wilmuth barn used to be”.

  58. 58
    A Ghost To Most says:

    The sweeter a person talks, the more often I check to see if I still have my wallet.

    That goes double for “christians”.

  59. 59
    lamh36 says:

    @John Cole: rambling ole war stories…yup…sign #9999999 you are becoming an grump old man

  60. 60
    Avalune says:

    Do you really need four paragraphs to tell us you are a grumpy old man?

    Aha Hahahaha hahaha. This made me chortle.

  61. 61
    Ruckus says:

    John, I can make small talk and as is obvious from most of my comments, I never use 5 words when 25 will do. But I find that life is better with very little social commentary and yes, get to the fucking point. As others have pointed out this can depend upon where you live how much is proper social commentary and how much is wasting my fucking time.

  62. 62
    SFAW says:

    @John Cole:

    Drill Sergeant: “Would you like to explain to the rest of the platoon?”

    Mrs. SFAW: “Would you like to take out the trash?”
    Moi: “No.”
    Mrs. SFAW: “… ”
    Mrs. SFAW: “WILL you take out the trash?”
    Moi: “Absolutely. No problem.”

  63. 63
    Kelly says:

    @Chacal Charles Calthrop:

    Japanese “polite” linguistic tense

    I worked on a project to change accounting software that was used in a worldwide corporation. The Japanese had very little to say at meetings. An old timer explained to me that they considered a meeting a get together to acknowledge the agreements that had been arrived at privately. The Israelis involved would argue even when they agreed with us, apparently just to see if we really knew what we were talking about. Or maybe just for sport.

  64. 64
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @John Cole: One of my TIs shoved a tube of contraband shoe polish down the throat of Senator Sam Nunn’s nephew. He chose poorly.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    SFAW says:

    Back when Ashbrook was first hosting “On Point,” it used to annoy me when he’d do the polite-host version of “Get to the fucking point already” with callers. By the second year, I started yelling at the callers who could NOT get to the fucking point within 15 seconds “Hi Tom, thanks for taking my call, long-time listener but first-time caller, and I have a question to ask your guest, something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and it concerns me for a number of reasons, but” etc. etc. By the time he finally gets to the fucking point, I’ve pulled my hair out.

    Or I would have, if I had any to pull out.

  67. 67
    sukabi says:

    @JPL: the would be blood.

  68. 68
    Genine says:

    I had to get used to that living on the West Coast. It’s hard, especially at work. I can’t just someone for a file or an email or a report. I have to ask them about their day, talk to them a bit about whatever, then ask for the file/email/report.

  69. 69
    noncarborundum says:

    John, you may want to check with 23 And Me to see if you have any Klingon ancestry. The Klingon equivalent of “hello” literally means “what do you want?”

  70. 70
    danielx says:

    @SFAW:

    This very evening, while spousal unit and daughter unit are watching tv, which I never watch because they monopolize the fucking television:

    Spousal unit: Do you know what you have in mind for dinner this evening? (note: I do 99% of the cooking around here.)
    Me: I don’t know. Do you know how tired I get of being asked what we’re doing for dinner this evening?

    Things kind of went downhill from there. Of course, I can (and do) always bring these, ah, frank exchanges of views to a complete halt by saying “anybody who objects to what I fix and when it goes on the table is more than welcome to fix their own dinner”.

    They really hate that.

  71. 71
    sukabi says:

    @Mary G: are you ever really an ex-felon? Ex-con once you’ve cleared your time. But to be an ex-felon would require an official pardon of some kind, wouldn’t it?

  72. 72
    Jay says:

    @ThresherK:

    On our road we give directions by family names. After 15 years here, we are still known as the Lauer Place. We ain’t Lauers.

    But then, 80% of the places on the road, don’t have house numbers.

    We also use local names like Ebl’s Corner and Grouse Flats. We also include a description.

    Below our road, we use road names and house numbers.

  73. 73
    debbie says:

    @JPL:

    Jesus. Most of those workers support him.

  74. 74
    Ivan X says:

    I am honored to live in a city, NYC, where the accepted and preferred discourse is the ideal you describe: quick and to the point. Pleasingly transactional, even. It’s probably why I moved here. People call us “gruff,” even when we’re being nice, but what they don’t understand that we’re showing some fucking respect for everyone’s valuable time, not trying to be dicks.

  75. 75
    SFAW says:

    @danielx:

    Of course, I can (and do) always bring these, ah, frank exchanges of views to a complete halt by saying “anybody who objects to what I fix and when it goes on the table is more than welcome to fix their own dinner”.

    Yeah, I try that, and Mrs. SFAW will kill me — or at the very least, de-nut me — in my sleep. I’ll have to live vicariously through you.

    [I’m joking — my wife and I split the cooking more or less, and she rarely if ever gives me a hard time about it, nor I her. And considering how hard she works, I should probably be doing more of the cooking. So I guess I got it easy.]

  76. 76
    sukabi says:

    @John Cole: I’m sure you were the most popular recruit in the platoon.

    I hope you were a fast learner.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Kelly says:

    In other news I’ll feel better about the 60 acre forest fire a couple miles upriver of our house if the rain forecast for tonight shows up.

  79. 79
    NotMax says:

    Hmm. Don’t remember seeing Dr. Maddow wearing jewelry before. She’s got a large ring on today (middle finger, right hand).

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  80. 80
    SFAW says:

    @Jay:

    You wouldn’t happen to be near Millinocket, would you?

  81. 81
    NotMax says:

    @danielx

    My own response to “Do you know what you have in mind for dinner this evening?” would be “Yes. Yes I do.” then promptly leaving the room.

    Reason #83,473 am not married. Collect them all.

    :)

  82. 82
    Gravenstone says:

    @oldgold: And then some.

  83. 83
    brendancalling says:

    100000000000000000000% agreed.

  84. 84
    FlyingToaster says:

    It’s not you.

    I grew up in the Midwest where it was a social requirement to do all of the “considerate” personal questioning before getting to the point. I would reverse it by, “Hi, it’s me, how are you? [listen to their ramble, then ignore their personal inquiry] Okay, I have a question…”

    My mom repeatedly told me that her friends thought I was terribly rude. I told her I had a question that they could answer and it wasn’t any of their business what I was doing at [school/JCC/wherever]. And if she wanted I could tell them how much trouble I was in for questioning the Sunday School staff or eventually walking out of her church.

    My dad’s friends liked me, though they thought I talked too much. Which I do. But I try to keep it to when people have time to waste, and not when we have stuff to get done.

  85. 85
    FlyingToaster says:

    @NotMax: You’d fit RIGHT in at ChezToaster. If you question the chef (HerrDoktor) about the meals, siracha will become a prominent ingredient. Which means me’n’WarriorGirl will be fending for ourselves that week.

  86. 86
    dexwood says:

    @NotMax:
    You’ve reminded me of my first phone call to my first girlfriend, 1966. My worst scenario, her father answers: Hi, is J**** there? Him: Yes, she’s here. Click followed by dial tone.

  87. 87
    Leto says:

    @sukabi: From the pictures I’ve seen, he does indeed have arms like tree trunks. So I’d say that’s a negative.

  88. 88
    Gravenstone says:

    @dexwood: Hopefully you quickly adapted to “hello, may I please speak to J?”

  89. 89
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @FlyingToaster:

    though they thought I talked too much

    I guess it’s about expectations. I was once talking with someone about a mutual acquaintance, and said he’s nice enough, but he’ll just talk your ear off. Her response “funny, I know him as a mute.”

  90. 90
    joel hanes says:

    How my mom tells me something :
    She starts by recounting the conversation she had with someone else that made her think of a certain idea, and then tells me about how that person is doing, and what that person’s kids are up to, and how she is connected to that person through things they do together, and which little sentimental tchochkes that person has given her, and how much those tchotchkes mean to her, and mentions some other people whom I don’t know whoa are similarly connected, and any recent news about some of those people, and then, finally, (maybe) gets around to what the idea is that she wants me to hear, if she hasn’t gone down some conversational rathole and lost sight of the idea entirely.

    It’s not Alzheimers or anything; the personal connections are the interesting part to her, and the point is rather beside the point by comparison.

    Me:
    “Mom, can you start at the other end? I don’t mind setting off on a journey, but if it has a goal, I’d like to know about it at the outset, not after a week’s travel.”

    That’s one virtue of the Army approach to training classes:
    1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
    2. Tell them.
    3. Tell them what you’ve told them.

    You get the point right up front.

  91. 91
    joel hanes says:

    @Jay:

    Take the gravel south two miles, and then turn left at the corner where the barn used to be.

  92. 92
    dexwood says:

    @Gravenstone:
    Yes. I realized my mistake immediately. i knew better, was raised better. Took me a few minutes to get my courage up, but I called back.

  93. 93
  94. 94
    Raven says:

    I hate the long responses to blegs where people feel compelled to give windy explanations why they can’t or won’t.

  95. 95
    Jay says:

    @joel hanes:

    In parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, it’s go straight,……….

    Most of their roads were built during an international corner and intersection shortage.

  96. 96
    Jay says:

    https://twitter.com/tedlieu/status/1108415588450205696?s=20

    On the #FirstDayofSpring, I started following
    @DevinCow
    .

    Also, remember when
    @DevinNunes
    created a fake media website called “The Californian Republican”? I do, because it attacked me. I found that funny. But apparently Rep Nunes can’t handle being criticized. Lighten up, dude.
    Quote Tweet
    Kyle Griffin
    @kylegriffin1

  97. 97
    Bill Arnold says:

    @No One of Consequence:

    Buttigieg footage from Mika and Fool today … mind of significant depth.

    That Morning Joe segment is pretty good. Worth it just to hear him say “Peace and stability on the nuclear peninsula”. (5:12) Kinky slip. :-)
    Anyway, it was good to just enjoy his engaging mental rhythms and timing. I think he’ll need to work on slowing it down a bit (but pretty-please keep the nuance/complexity) depending on audience.

  98. 98
  99. 99
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    when I ask for information, I’m just not looking for every damned detail under the sun, I just want to know what I need to know.

    And sometimes that answer needs to be longer that a simple yes or no. In my profession, there is seldom and simple answer. If I were to answer a question by saying “Yes, but only if…,” most people would stop listening after they heard the word yes. Then when everything went pear-shaped, they would complain that I had given bad advice. So I lead with the caveats.

  100. 100
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @John Cole: Damn, you old grouch, I knew there was a reason I keep reading this blog. / wipes tears of laughter out of eyes

  101. 101
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Amir Khalid: Besides vacuuming out the fan openings, I suggest you power down the unit & then pop the battery out & give both the battery compartment & the battery itself, specifically including the power connection to the rest of the PC, a good dusting & vacuuming. Doesn’t take long & may save you a lot of annoying shutdowns-due-to-overheating.

  102. 102
    terben says:

    @psycholinguist: In Ireland, the response to asking for directions might be, “If I was you, I wouldn’t be starting from here.

  103. 103
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Gravenstone: You & the Old Mold bring to mind a cartoon I used to have posted in my cube of a disgusted-looking duck-dressed-as-engineer, Caption:

    Every day forces me to add to the list of people who can KISS MY ASS.

  104. 104
    Bill Arnold says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    It is you. You need to take Small Talk 101.

    Like “So, tell me what you are ranting about these days.” :-)

  105. 105
    Dan B says:

    @psycholinguist: A 1200 mile road trip in a well greased handbasket.

  106. 106
    psycholinguist says:

    the converse of negative face, or leaving people alone as a polite gesture, is positive face, or expressing affiliation and agreement with the person as a show of politeness. As a number of previous commenters have pointed out, that varies by region, gender, and culture. It can be great fun to have people of different orientations attempting to be polite to one another. When I met my wife’s full-blown Greek family for the first time, I was convinced they were a bunch of nosy, yelling, rude, suspicious people because they continually peppered me with questions, advice, and kept trying to shove food down my throat. They thought my German/Mennonite self was a stuck-up, boring, rude prig who didn’t seem to have any interest in the family. It took us a while to figure things out.

  107. 107
    Don K says:

    When I was working, there was a manager who would leave rambling 5-minute voicemails if he called when I was away from my office. Eventually, I learned to ignore the first four minutes of his messages and just pay attention to the actual information/request.

  108. 108
    Don K says:

    @noncarborundum:

    As a young analyst, I knew a supervisor at work who, when you showed up at his door to ask for information or a report, would ask, “What the fuck do you want?” I learned that was just Bob being Bob.

  109. 109
    SFAW says:

    Awhile back, whenever I would run off at the mouth (after being asked for information), my manager would say (I think) “Give me the left-brain answer!”, meaning: just the key points, no extraneous info. It helped get me back on track.

    NB: The “(I think)” is because he might have said right-brain answer, but I’ve forgotten.

  110. 110
    Don K says:

    @Chacal Charles Calthrop:

    When I was working in Japan, I learned that at least 20 minutes of a half-hour meeting would be spent on irrelevant minutiae that the Japanese considered essential to polite interaction. I once broke protocol in a meeting with a Japanese bank wanting to lend to our subsidiary by saying point-blank that, because that bank had once fucked over our parent company on a lending commitment 15 years before, their senior management would have to contact our senior management and I would have to have approval before I could even consider discussing borrowing from them.

  111. 111
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    Keep in mind that, if asking a friend for a favor, there’s some awkwardness, especially if you’ve had some time not seeing each other. And there’s a kind of “and, see, I’m not JUST talking because you can help me, I like talking to you!”

    If you wanted to finesse this, sometimes you can by saying “Hold on, (friend’s name) let’s catch up a bit later. I’m kinda busy, and it sounds like you could use some help.” That gives them an excuse to get to the point, while still approving of what they say, and acknowledging the point that they might be trying to make (“sure, we’re friends, we’ll catch up, just not this minute”).

  112. 112
    barbequebob says:

    @laura:

    Hi, don’t know what a Myer Briggs is but it seems to me that a request to describe something based on attributes and features versus simply stating what it is (based on accepted definitions) are different.

  113. 113
    Sab says:

    I work in a billable hours profession. Best choice I ever made. Clients can yak all day, but I will bill them hourly for it.

    My sister is an academic. She is really into networking. I cannot get her off the phone. It’s like every call is an academic committee meeting with no agenda, while we feel each other out interminably about an agenda I was unaware of. Argh.

  114. 114
    Suzanne says:

    @SFAW:

    Mrs. SFAW: “Would you like to take out the trash?”

    Oh, this shit makes me bonkers.

    The other one is “Do you think we should do [insert XYZ thing that the questioner wants to do but doesn’t have the huevos to suggest or direct]?”
    Me: “No, but you obviously think so.”

    In my experience, women are more socialized to talk this way so as to avoid seeming directive or aggressive.

  115. 115
    StringOnAStick says:

    @NotMax: Oh, Gunsmoke! I was almost born in the car because the folks wanted to watch the rest of an episode, so my given name is standard but I was raised with the nickname Kitty and never called anything else. I shortened it to Kit once I became a 17 year old short busty blonde with an inherited husky voice because seriously, Kitty? It did mean I got my first feline at age 6 and a lifetime of deep loving from the feline world. I call them Kitty, not me.

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