Why do we keep talking?

Join Craig and Jesse as they challenge the urge to keep talking and explore the value of silence.

This article is based on an episode from the Open + Curious podcast. To listen, please read more about how to purchase the podcast episodes.

I find that when I can’t shut up, it’s usually because […] I’m trying to provide more and more and more and more and more and more context. […] it’s really a lot about hiding— So I find when I can’t shut up, It’s because I’m uncomfortable, or I’m afraid.

~ Craig Constantine (0:55)

Craig Constantine and Jesse Danger explore the reasons behind why people keep talking.

I also wonder how much of that is individual and how much of that is culturally emergent. Because I think about the space that conversation takes up. And I think that there is, for some people, an idea of taking turns. And for some people an idea of sounding really smart, or even just holding the control of the space. And I hear something there in the just putting yourself out there and letting it go. It’s kind of like pushing, pushing the ship out to water.

~ Jesse Danger (2:17)

They also discuss the value of listening and the impact it has on learning and understanding. Craig expresses a desire to talk less to maximize his learning opportunities. He believes that by not speaking, he can better engage with others and gain more insights.

Jesse shares his experience of being deeply fixated on Parkour and how it shaped his conversations, often limiting his understanding of others. Both highlight the importance of being aware of the urge to speak and the potential benefits of embracing silence to truly understand and connect with others.


Reasons for excessive talking — Fear and discomfort can lead to talking more to provide context and seek validation.

Cultural influences on conversation — Different cultural norms influence whether people take turns or dominate conversations.

Value of listening — Speaking less can create opportunities for learning and understanding others better.

Fixation on specific topics — An intense focus on a particular subject can limit the breadth of conversations and connections with others.

Awareness of speaking urges — Noticing the impulse to speak and understanding its motivations can enhance conversational quality.

Silent participation — Listening without speaking still contributes to the conversation and holds value.

Thinking out loud — Some people need to talk to organize their thoughts and clarify their thinking.

Circle process — Structured conversational methods like circle processes can help in exploring problems by listening to others’ interpretations and ideas.

Impact of engagement — Active engagement in a conversation from both parties enriches the interaction and learning experience.

Silence and understanding — Embracing silence can help in fully grasping and appreciating different perspectives in a conversation.


Circle process — A structured conversational method where participants take turns speaking and listening, allowing for deep reflection and shared understanding.


(Written with help from Chat-GPT.)

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