What are they thinking?

What’s up with some people who, during a group presentation or class, act like they’re the only ones being addressed and feel the need to respond? I was recently at a conference where a lady in the front row vigorously nodded her head, agreeing with what was being said, and on multiple occasions said, “Uh huh!” or “Right!” She even turned to the person next to her and told him why she agreed as the other person tried in vain to ignore her.

In a college class I sat next to a guy who behaved similarly. He would say, “Yes” or “That’s right” throughout the class and it became very distracting.

I’d like to know what’s going through the minds of these people. Do they think they’re in an evangelical meeting where it’s expected to hear a few hallelujahs and amens during the discourse? Do they think it boosts the confidence of the presenter? (It seemed to throw off the presenters from what I saw). If anyone reading actually does this, I would be very curious to hear your reasoning.


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  1. Dan,

    I have experienced this particular example of self centered “I am the only person in the room” first hand. It is indeed annoying. This hasn’t always worked as an approach, but sometimes a punch to the gut works. But, be careful, this can have it’s own sort of repercussions.

    Comment by elsmob on January 2, 2007 @ 10:17 am
  2. A punch in the gut, while satisfying, would probably not have a long term positive effect. I’m still curious what these people are thinking.

    Comment by dan on January 2, 2007 @ 12:05 pm
  3. These people routinely say to themselves: “I am the only real person in the center of a grand story. Everyone else is merely an actor in the play.”

    Comment by danithew on January 2, 2007 @ 1:13 pm
  4. Sad, but possibly true. I had hoped for a more sane explanation, but it may not exist.

    Comment by dan on January 2, 2007 @ 1:20 pm
  5. While annoying, I actually don’t think it’s a conscious mentality of “I’m King” or anything – I think they just have a loud personality and are sadly clueless to what they’re doing.

    Comment by Cameron on January 2, 2007 @ 5:29 pm
  6. If that’s the case, then a punch to the gut might be just the thing to knock some sense into them.

    Comment by dan on January 2, 2007 @ 5:35 pm
  7. sometimes people remember things better if they are vocal and though unintentional they will interrupt though most times they are not as loud or rude about it. It has to do with learning styles.

    Comment by whaleman on January 3, 2007 @ 1:07 pm
  8. So you’re saying they don’t realize they’re talking? That seems bizarre, but I guess it could be the case.

    Comment by dan on January 3, 2007 @ 1:12 pm
  9. along with that it sometimes seems that they are in a “zone” and don’t respond when made aware of the situation. It seems to be a subconscious thing.

    Comment by whaleman on January 4, 2007 @ 5:46 am

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