Please stop Talking!

Before my burnout, I had quite a lot of talking people around me.  Both at work (teacher) and  privately but also at my running group, there was a lot of talking.  The result was that I was very aware of what was going on with everyone. People told me that they could easily come to me and that they felt that they could also share a lot of personal matters with me.  For some people I was a kind of Dr. Phill, a place where you could tell your story.

That was not a problem before the burnout.  I thought that was pretty fun. It had something social, people came to me for a chat or just to chat.  Turned around, I also looked for people to chat with. At the coffee machine in the hallway, in the staff room, on our son’s rugby field, etc.

During the burnout, that changed. I couldn’t stand it very well anymore.  I even found it annoying and tiring.  Talking and especially listening suddenly turned out to be extremely taxing. I had to pay close attention to what was being said and often I had to / wanted to say something back. After which something new was said. It became completely tiring when several people started talking to each other, that was impossible to follow.

I also found most conversations far too long, noisy, and pointless. So not only was that exhausting, but I also got annoyed.

Finally, I noticed that many conversations did not let me go. When people told me something, I often felt the need to do something with it. Or that I had an opinion about it, vicariously angry, annoyed, you name it.  So, I was also watching with an annoying feeling.

Own experience

When people came to visit, I could only keep it up for a short time. Often I withdrew after 10/ 15 minutes. I also found TV programs taxing. All the time news, talk shows, both on radio and TV, I didn’t care.


The team meetings and consultations were extremely taxing. They lasted far too long and constantly people were speaking, had an opinion, liked it. Terrible.

I even left the meeting once, saying: I am not pulling this now. Just out of self-protection.


I also thought more and more often: why are you telling me this, what do I care about and am I the only one to whom you tell this or are there more people, do you also talk about me with others …?


So, the talking post (which I had apparently become), which everyone just started talking to, it didn’t work anymore.

I had to learn to deal with this new situation, how that went, I describe that below.


The burnout was still new to me, and I had to re-establish the limits of what I could do here as well. After all, I had no energy left at that moment and the little energy I still had, I wanted to keep to myself. I didn’t want to give energy to pointless conversations with other people.


Still, I couldn’t avoid having conversations and speaking to people. But that went wrong quite often. That I just didn’t pull it.


Together with my psychologist and my wife, I went to see what went wrong. Where the load was and why I suffered from it.


I started to consciously analyze conversations for this, very simply. Then I would sit in my burnout room and try to see what was going wrong. In addition, I made a diagram (below), which I used for that. With actually three themes:

  • What irritates
  • Why does it irritate
  • What exactly


Below I have filled in the schedule, as I experienced it, after a conversation.


What Irritates

Why does it irritate

What exactly


Talking in itself


–        voice sound

–        hardness

–        expensive

–        accent

–        intonation

–        speed

–        incomplete Dutch

–        etc.

–        Uncomfortable

–        too hard/too soft

–        far too long

–        speak Dutch

–        wrong

–        can’t track it

–        too annoying




–        slander

–        Negative

–        complain

–        judge

–        lie

–        exaggerate

–        appoint

–        etc.

–        who cares?

–        costs energy

–        costs energy

–        tiresome

–        what you say is not correct

–        stop that

–        please stop


Purpose of the conversation


–        inform me

–        dumping ground for other people’s misery

–        monologue, diarrhea of words

–        conversation

–        prove something

–        give argument

–        give or ask a reason

–        talking about themselves

–        etc.


–        is this useful for me

–        is this pleasen



–        please stop


–        may be useful

–        why do you say this?

–        why?

–        I often don’t feel like thinking about this

–        Related to Van Gal 2.0:


Number of speakers


–        One

–        superior

–        groups in a group

–        all attention claimed

–        flight possibility

–        too complicated




–        morning, afternoon evening

–        unexpected

–        Announced


–        evening/afternoon NOT


–        you’re happening to me, STOP

–        seems fine, Panic build-up





–        talk show on TV

–        news

–        information programs

–        radio

–        meeting

–        online meeting

–        visit

–        in a break


–        incriminating

–        too much info

–        too much info


–        too funny and annoying

–        tiresome

–        achievable

–        depending on whom

–        don’t




–        always be available for other

–        always be there for others

–        stop this immediately. also, people unlearn this, I am no longer available

Speaker himself




–        stinks from the mouth

–        smells like sweat

–        gets too close to

–        has food between the teeth

–        etc

–        Lives

–        Lives

–        dirty

–        dirty

What the conversation does to me



–        angry

–        think it’s stupid

–        had chosen a different path

–        I mind

–        etc.

–        other people’s misery

–        irritation

–        judgment


–        other people’s misery

Where is it



–        Amsterdam


–        pub


–        drive all the way from Nijmegen

–        are many stimuli

With whom




–        good friends

–        annoying people

–        my feelings (healthy environment)

–        No problem

–        incriminating

–        important




By doing this, I got a better picture of where the irritations were and what could be done differently / better to change that.


I have added the diagram below in a link and at the bottom of the page. You can download it, maybe it will help you.


Many of the irritations were in the corner of pleasing. The fact that people just came to dump everything on me, I had caused myself. I now had to set limits on the booing.


There was the change!





As described above, I also looked up the booze. So I was able to stop that pretty quickly. I just avoided the: staff room, coffee machine, canteen of the rugby club at the time when many people came. For example, I quickly grabbed a cup of tea before the break and then went to lunch alone in my classroom. A bit strange at first, but soothing.


I was going to change the content of the conversations. I started avoiding people who came to gossip, speak negatively, complain, whine, judge, etc. If I knew there was someone somewhere who did that, I avoided that person. The great thing was that these people started telling their stories to others. So at once I was no longer informed. That was strange and somewhat sedate, but also soothing.


I discussed this with my supervisor. That I am not ready for team meetings, meetings, etc. That was accepted and I am (still) regularly absent. Simply because it’s too taxing.


Talk shows, radio talk etc. are very easy to end. Just don’t do those talk shows anymore. And on the radio only CDs, Sky radio or Sublime FM because they don’t talk there.


If I did have to have a conversation, I tried to create the conditions in such a way that I was least bothered by it. In advance I would find out where I had space, where I could leave, where the emergency brake is, who could help me, etc.



Two movements arose. On the one hand, I stopped with a lot of the chatter around me. I consciously built it down and made sure that I came into contact with it as little as possible. If it had to be done once, then as much as possible on my terms



On the other hand, I began to appreciate the peace and quiet that this resulted in. I found that I could be alone just fine. That I needed other people much less than I thought.

I only went to look for his consciously. For example, I cycle alone to and from work, I occasionally walk alone through the neighborhood, I pause alone, I sit alone in my burnout room in the evening, etc.


By making these choices, I got a more balanced relationship with the talk in my environment and my needs. I was getting closer and closer to myself.





Because of the choices I made, people visited me less and I also sought them out less. As a result, I have said goodbye to some people a bit. Unfortunately, for them, I was no more than a place to tell your story. Actually, I provided for their needs instead of my own. A healthy environment?


Still, I’m glad I did. Looking for silence was a bit exciting at first, but it turned out to be a perfect place to recharge myself. I also understood the title at once: Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. Consciously seek/experience the sound of silence.


By seeking this silence in combination with tuned talking, I am quite confident that this will be okay. That I get in balance and hopefully stay.


What is positive?

Leaving a conversation was a strong action to choose for myself.  I felt it wasn’t ging well and I stepped out of the situation.

By analyzing this, I got tools that helped me further. I wish you the same for you


  1. Avoid people who like to talk a lot.
  2. Look for people who talk less and who are therefore less stressful.
  3. Gossiping, complaining, judging, negativity, lying, exaggerating, appointing. Those are all conversations that are too taxing.
  4. Look for nice, honest, friendly people.
  5. Find the quiet (introverted) people.
  6. Dose watching talk shows.
  7. Radio stations without talking are also there. Just like playing a CD.
  8. Analyze what’s not going well and try to change that
  9. Seek silence.

Keep it should be fine!!

If you start to notice that talking people are incriminating, then you are going to act accordingly. You’re going to avoid them or try to keep the conversations as short as possible.

You are then attuning your environment to your needs and that is also a change compared to before the burnout.

That is different than before the burnout but fits better. Maybe with you too!!

Try it out and maybe it will help you.