21: Do You Talk Too Much? On Taming the Tongue
Do you talk too much?
If you talk too much, or you suspect that you do, we have some tips for you.
The sad truth is that those who talk too much think that others find them infinitely amusing, but it’s not the case. They usually find such folks to be bores.
If you talk too much, or you suspect that you do, and you’d like to change that, we have ideas.
In this Episode
- The What does the Bible say about talking too much?
- What is logorrhea?
- Common sins of speech.
- How extreme talkativeness is a form of intemperance.
- Tips on taming the tongue. that destroy souls.
Mentioned in this Episode
- Sins of the Tongue or Jealousy in Woman’s Life
- The Sin of Lust: How Serious Is It? Part II (Intemperance)
- Of the evils of the tongue. Of the difference between the earthly and heavenly wisdom (James 3)
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Logorrhea is defined as an excessive flow of words. There actually is a medical condition called logorrhea. It’s a form of mental illness and usually it refers to an almost incoherent talkativeness. The person is speaking quickly and after a while they’re not making any sense. However, there’s a more colloquial use of the word logorrhea, and that is verbal diarrhea. Logorrhea in that sense involves using fancy words. And I mean, overly fancy words, just to convey a simple message. And it’s done to show how intelligent or intellectual you are – verbal diarrhea. So that’s logorrhea.
Do you talk too much?
I know I talk too much. It’s funny because in the midst of my talking, sometimes I become aware that I’m actually talking too much. Like I start to say something and then I’m like, “Wait a minute. I’m starting to babble now.” So we really have to be aware of ourselves when we’re talking too much, and then just pull back and stop talking.
Now you might say, well, Cynthia, you basically talk for a living because you’re doing podcasts now. Well, I see that as different. It’s okay for me to talk during a podcast. It’s is there for a purpose. I’m not just talking just to hear myself talk, but because I talk so much on podcasts, then I really have to be careful in my life outside of that. I have to be sure to tame my tongue when I’m in other social situations. That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to people. You can’t have fun. You can’t be fun. No, there’s a difference between just talking and communicating with people and talking too much. James 3 verses 1-12 talks about the problem that occurs when you don’t tame your tongue.
Be ye not many masters, my brethren, knowing that you receive the greater judgment. For in many things we all offend. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man. He is able also with a bridle to lead about the whole body. For if we put bits into the mouths of horses, that they may obey us, and we turn about their whole body. Behold also ships, whereas they are great, and are driven by strong winds, yet are they turned about with a small helm, whithersoever the force of the governor willeth. Even so the tongue is indeed a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how small a fire kindleth a great wood. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body, and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell. For every nature of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of the rest, is tamed, and hath been tamed, by the nature of man: 8But the tongue no man can tame, an unquiet evil, full of deadly poison..
By it we bless God and the Father: and by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth, out of the same hole, sweet and bitter water? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear grapes; or the vine, figs? So neither can the salt water yield sweet.
This verse illustrates how important it is to tame the tongue. So today we’re going to take a look at taming, the tongue and talking too much. And also, if you would, please apply I all of these to our communication on the internet.
A lot of you know me through Facebook. So that means we have a lot of interaction on the internet. Interacting on the internet is talking, so to speak, is using your tongue so to speak, although you’re actually using your fingers to type. It’s the same thing because you’re communicating. So everything that applies to the tongue here, let’s also apply it to communication on the internet. Cool. Okay, wonderful. So today we’re going to take a look at the consequences of not taming the tongue and we’ll look at what the Church Fathers and the saints have to say about it. And then we’ll also take a look at what we can do or some tips to tame the tongue so that you’re not talking too much.
If you had to choose one vice that too much talking is associated with, which vice would you say? How about the vice of intemperance? There’s an article on ThoseCatholicmen.com that explains this .”For both gluttony (intemperance, in food) and lust (intemperance of sexuality), Aquinas interestingly, presents talkativeness as a symptom of intemperance. This is because the talkative do not tend towards true conversation (the mutual enjoyment and exchange between two people), but they’re interested only in talking. As lust uses a person to reach venereal pleasure, without true consideration of the other as a person, the overly talkative use other people as a thing to talk at. There is no true consideration of how they are received, but only that they can talk. The talkative love to be the center of attention, and for some reason, believe that others delight in them about as much as they delight in themselves,” explains Doug McManamon.
And so they employ their words to that end, namely being the object of others’ attention. As long as they are talking, others have no choice, but to listen. And so they prolong their discourse as long as circumstances allow ,if not longer. And the matter of that conversation will almost always center around themselves in some way, either directly or indirectly. It is interesting that the great spiritual mentor of many laymen St. Josemaria Escriva, who preached that discipline (mortification) must be a constant disposition, gives this counsel on conversation.
“Make sure you practice this very interesting modification – that of not making your conversation revolve around yourself.”
Imagine making a modification, not to make ourselves the center of attention. How difficult would that be for those who love to talk like myself? Yes. I’m being honest here.
There’s an article written by the blog of the Archdiocese of Washington, I believe called “Bite Your Tongue – A Reflection on Common Sins of Speech.” I will link to it. I like this article because it shows all the different ways that you can sin using the tongue. And it gives a name to each of these sins.
So you have the lying tongue speaking, false things with the intention to mislead. And then it quotes Proverbs 12:22, “The Lord detests lying lips. But he delights in people who are trustworthy.”Now we all know that we’re not supposed to lie. So I’m going to move on to the next one.
The flattering tongue: exaggerating the good qualities of others in order to ingratiate ourselves to them, a form of lying. So why is flattering, a form of lying? I really believe in encouraging people and helping them to develop their skills and their talents. And that’s what I do, right. Help them to become more confident. So if someone has a skill and maybe they’re not the best. It’s okay. to encourage them to say, you know, “I really like the way you do this,” And to encourage, them. See, it depends on your intention. If your intention is just to get in with the person to become part of their clicque, their circle, and so you’re constantly flattering them. Then it becomes a sin. And guess what people can tell when you’re trying to flatter them, people can tell when you’re not honest.
Let’s move on. The proud tongue. There is a saying that a proud tongue comes with two closed ears. The proud tongue is boastful and overly certain of what it says. Those of proud tongue are not easily corrected and do not qualify or distinguish their remarks as they should. Now there’s a form of the proud tongue that’s called the humble brag. You find this among Christians a lot where we know we’re not supposed to brag, we’re not supposed to be proud.
And so we do a sort of humble brag. You all know what this is, but let me give an example for those who don’t. You just bought a pair of shoes made by Prada. In fact, I’m looking right now at some Prada, sand pumps at Neman Marcus for $750. They’re cute, but not that cute. You got it on sale for $500. You’re dying to tell someone that you have Prada shoes, but you don’t wan’t to come across as bragging. So you do the humble brag. “I just bought a pair of Prada shoes for $400. Now, you know, normally I can’t afford Prada – No, I don’t make enough, but I couldn’t resist a sale. Imagine 400 bucks. It goes for seven 50. Oh, I’m so thankful. You want me to look out for any sales for you?” That would be humble brag. You’re bragging that you have Prada shoes, but you don’t want people to say, “Oh ,you must be bragging because you have money.
So instead of trying to act like you couldn’t have afforded it. If it wasn’t on sale, when you know you probably would’ve bought it anyway, that’s an example of a humble brag.
The next one: the overused tongue saying far too much, especially concerning things about which we know little. This is the typical Trad you see online who just posts encyclicals? They’re just copying and pasting. Basically. They don’t know anything about philosophy, but they’re just copying and pasting. And in their copying, they hope that they’ll come across as intellectual, right? So that’s online. In person. You start talking about something that you don’t know much about, but use a lot of words so that it seems like, you know what you’re talking about. You might use a lot of big words. Remember the logorrhea? Yeah.
Next one.: the swift tongue: speaking before we should, before we even have all the information. Ecclesiastes says, “Be not rash with your mouth and let not your heart be hasty to utter anything before God,. Before you speak about anything, just take a breath, wait and decide whether you want to comment on that or not.
The next one: the backbiting tongue – talking about others behind their backs, the secretive injuring of a person’s good name. Calumny is outright lying about another person. Detraction is calling unnecessary attention to the fault of others, so as to harm their reputations. So much of that goes on online. I even want do a whole podcast on that because my spirit is grieved, when I see some of this stuff. There are things that we need to talk about, but there are things we don’t need to talk about. And the way that I see Catholics talking about people, whether it’s their physical appearance, whether it’s, you know, private little tidbits that has nothing to do with anything, it’s a shame.
Next: the tail bearing tongue: spreading unnecessary often hurtful information about others. Tale bearers spread personal information about others that should not be shared very similar to the backbiting tongue.
8) the cursing tongue: wishing that harm comes to others. Usually that they be damned.
And the next one: the piercing tongue: speaking with unnecessary harshness and severity.
The last: the silent tongue : not speaking up When we ought to warn people sin, call them to the kingdom and announce the truth of Jesus Christ. So remaining silent, when you shouldn’t stay silent in the face of evil and bad behavior can also be a sin.
When we come back, we’ll take a look at certain examples of how you tame your tongue in conversation.
So now I have some tips for you guys for taming the tongue, especially in a conversation. I find that’s where my tongue tends to run away with me because I’m very bubbly, so they say, in person. And so I tend to talk and talk and talk. And so let me give you some tips that I’ve picked up and that has also worked for some clients of mine. First one is, don’t say anything you don’t want God to hear. Now we know that God is everywhere. He’s omniscient. He hears everything, sees everything. But sometimes we forget that. What we’re saying, how would God feel about that? That’s kind of like the, “what would Jesus do?” type of thing. How would God feel about what you’re saying?
This is what St. John Vianney had to say, “My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love you, I want my heart to repeat it to you. As often as I draw breath.” So every time you draw breath to speak, are you at the same time saying, “My God. I love you.”
We should always be praying, right? We should always be praying these little short ejaculations my God, how I love you. So, o the next time that you want to gossip or detract, heaven forbid, or the next time you are online and you, or the next time you’re online, you want say something or you want to respond back to someone or you want be patronizing, or you want be boastful. Imagine God standing right next to you, looking over your shoulder, as you say what you’re saying, or as you type something on the internet,. Don’t say anything, you wouldn’t want God to hear. Okay?
So the next tip is to count to five before responding to anything and come backwards. So if someone says something to you that maybe you don’t like, just count: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1,” and then respond or don’t respond. It depends on the situation. By taking this moment of silence before responding, you’re able to think a little bit about what you are about to say, whether it’s useful or whether it just strokes your pride or your vanity. So if someone says something that injures your pride and you know that you’re struggling with pride, don’t just respond and say, “What are you trying to say? What do you mean by that? Take a few moments. Countbackwards: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and then respond. Maybe you’ll say, okay, why do you feel that way? As opposed to look who’s talking. Right? So take that moment and count before responding just in general, just kind of be restful and aware and just pause a little bit before responding conversation.
Here’s another tip. When you first meet someone, meaning when you come across them for the day, maybe you are meeting at their house or maybe you’re meeting in a group, or maybe it’s at the coffee hour after mass, unless you wan to ask for advice. In which case you would be talking about yourself, always start a conversation by asking the person about himself before commenting on your antics/ adventures for the weekend. Right? But what do you do if you really want yo bring up something that happened? Well, let me show you what you can do. I’ll give the example of someone who went to a restaurant and had an experience that she didn’t like. So she might start by saying, have you been to such and such restaurants? So right away, she’s asking the person about herself. Have you been to that restaurant? So another person says yes or no.
And then you might say, well, I went there the other day and I had an interesting experience. And then pause, don’t just start going into it and talking on and on and on. Maybe the person doesn’t care about your experience, right? Just pause. If they want to hear more, they’ll ask more. If they don’t, they’ll go on another topic. They might say what happened? So then you say the waiter completely forgot my order. And when I asked about it an hour later, that’s when he realized he had forgotten about it. Wait for a response, you might get a laugh. You might get a comment: “fuuny, and then if they’re really interested in, finding out more, they’ll ask you more questions. Was the waiter inexperienced. How did you react, etc. If they’re not interested, then they won’t ask you any questions. So this is how you begin the conversation by asking that person something about themselves, even though you want to talk about something and then you kind of fee them out, whether they want to keep talking or not, otherwise you risk talking too much.
So related to the questions, the next tip is ask questions rather than just babble about yourself. You guys are probably saying, Cynthia, you always say, ask questions, ask questions. Yes. So important asking questions. Yes. Asking questions covers a multitude of sins, right? Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. And if they are aware of themselves and working on themselves, when you ask them questions, they in turn will ask you questions. If they’re not, maybe they won’t ask you anything and they’ll just keep babbling and it’ll be their issue, not yours. Right? Okay. Next tip. When you are asked a question answered as briefly and as succinctly as possible, and then ask the other person something about themselves.
Yes. We’re still asking questions. Here’s an example. Someone asks, what school did you go to? You reply. I went to Harvard and then just pause at this point. You can say, “What school did you go to?” Or you can just pause. If they’re interested in finding out more, they might ask you, “Well, what’s it like to go there?” You might respond,, “A lot of smart people smarter than me. Definitely on the liberal side. What school did you go to?” You see how you ask the question? You throw the ball back and then he might say, “Oh, just a college in the neighborhood.” And then you say, “What was that like?” And then he might say, “Ah, pretty boring.” And then he might go and tell you a story or. .. Do you see? You’re responding, and then you’re asking about the person. This is a much better conversation than if you start going, “Oh, Harvard, oh, you know, Harvard is not what people make it out to be.
And when I was there, I got annoyed at this. And then blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And they’re not even that interested. In fact, maybe they’re just being polite by asking you, but you won’t know that because you didn’t give him a chance to participate in the conversation.
So you might say, but Cynthia, what if you’re discussing something like politics, politics is all about debate. I like to debate and there’s nothing wrong with debate. Yes, you’re right. But even when you’re discussing a topic, you have to be sure to ask the personal question so that they have a chance to give their input. Here’s an example. This is a politics example. “I think the Republican party can do a lot more fighting for what we believe in. And then just wait>” Either. They’ll ask you a question or they’ll give their input. They might say, “Eell, I don’t think so.
I think they’re doing just fine,” in which case you can ask the question. “What do you think about this that just happened? Do you think that was a good thing for Republicans… and you wait for them to answer or they might ask you,”Why do you say that they’re not fighting for what they believe in?” And then you would say, “Well, let me give you an example. And then you give an example. You’re not going to give them a deluge of examples. You’re just going to give them one example. Do you see? So this is how you can have the debate. It’s a back and forth instead of just talking and overwhelming them with all your knowledge about politics. Give them a chance to go back and forth. So in conversation, if you observe these tips that I gave you, then you’ll be taming your tongue.
You just have to talk and then restrain yourself. Ask a question and allow someone else to respond as well. That way you have a conversation. That’s a true conversation. If the conversation is becoming malicious gossip, then find a way to either change a topic or suddenly you have something to do. Go do something else. So guys, if you talk too much, please work on taming, your tongue. It’s so important. You can avoid a lot of sins and you’ll make better friends. God bless.
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