Who uses it: Psychologists and behaviorists
What it means: The tendency to prolong contact with other people, and to talk repetitively and in excessive detail about a narrow range of subjects.
How you can use it: The next time you're cornered.
Did you know there was a name for this? It happens to everyone -- someone decides that they really, really need you to understand something, and isn't going to let you go until you do. Of course, it has nothing to do with your understanding; it's about their need to feel understood, which you have no control over. It's my worst nightmare -- not just being the recipient of this, but doing it to other people.
People who consistently behave this way, however, often suffer from some kind of temporal lobe disorder -- epilepsy, or a lesion, or a traumatic head injury of some kind. They might or might not be aware that they do this, and they're probably incapable of changing their behavior. Medication can help, but not always.
Years ago, I met an anthropologist who studied customs of parting. He said that Westerners are very bad at saying goodbye to each other; we're great at greetings, but we slip away from each other without acknowledging the departure. I've noticed this ever since, not least because I'm bad at goodbyes myself. For me, it's a matter of fear -- if I say goodbye, will that be the end?
And is becoming good at "goodbye" something we should aspire to?