9 Types of People You'll Encounter In Any Group Discussion
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

9 Types of People You'll Encounter In Any Group Discussion

We've all met them. We've all been them.

9 Types of People You'll Encounter In Any Group Discussion

A staple of humanities courses, group discussions can be a lively way to exchange ideas. But like most optimistically-created constructs of high school and college classrooms, discussions are usually sabotaged by the laziness, pettiness, and/or general apathy of the students participating in them. If you’ve ever been one of those students, you’ve probably noticed some of these students: the stock characters in any group discussion.

1. The Talker

It doesn’t matter in which direction the discussion has gone, this person has something to say. They may or may not know what they’re talking about, either, but they will talk. And talk. And talk. They pounce on every question, desperate to be the first to answer it, and in doing so, they usually burn through most of what the students patiently waiting to speak intended to say. If someone observing the discussion were to count the cumulative minutes spent talking by every student, the Talker would be the frontrunner with no close competition.

2. The Parrot

Whether it is because they’re attempting to hide their own lack of knowledge about the topic being discussed or because of sheer obliviousness, the Parrot exclusively volunteers information that has already been volunteered. This type is an expert at rearranging sentences, rewording previously-stated ideas so that their contribution seems worthwhile. But after they finish talking, everyone else is left with the impression that the room entered a time warp.

3. The Misinterpreter

This person, related to the Parrot, tries to use their classmates’ ideas as a springboard to develop their own. Unlike the Parrot, however, they do manage to create new thoughts…very new thoughts. In fact, whatever previous comment they’re using as a starting point is so butchered by their analysis that it becomes unrecognizable. Bonus points if the addition makes the original seem rude, vaguely threatening, or just plain factually wrong. The original speaker might debate clarifying what they did and didn’t mean, but their ideas were likely understood by everyone who isn’t the Misinterpreter.

4. The Tail Chaser

Some people just can’t express themselves concisely. The Tail Chaser is so focused on being thorough that they inadvertently repeat themselves, describing the same concept twelve different ways before they finish talking, even though everyone else in the room understood their point after one.

5. The Teacher Pleaser

This crafty individual might not talk as much as the others, but when they do, it’s highly calculated. Often, People Pleasers sit back and listen to the discussion throughout most of it—particularly to the input of the teacher. Then, when they’ve gathered enough information, they strike, interjecting a carefully-tailored opinion that not-so-coincidentally matches the teacher’s. They are experts at manufacturing good grades by spouting what the teacher wants to hear.

6. The Interrupter

Whether intentional or not, this person is rude. Either they’re really excited about the idea another person’s point just sparked, or they’re not listening right up until they open their mouth, or they just don’t care about maintaining the flow of conversation. They jump into the middle or someone else’s sentence and make it their own, forcing the first person to trail off and try to communicate their indignation with a pointed glare.

7. The Debater

The Debater is always lying in wait, ready to attack any point their classmates make. They seem to get pleasure from ripping apart ideas and pointing out the contradictions in others’ arguments. The merit of the original arguments themselves is irrelevant in the face of the Debater’s overwhelming urge to assert their perceived superiority by knocking down everyone else. Typically, Debaters volunteer nothing of their own, so they are enforcing standards they themselves do not even try to meet.

8. The Distractor

In an attempt to entertain themselves, Distractors throw out new topics. Typically, these additions range from utterly random to tangentially related, but no matter what, they’re a sharp turn away from what is being discussed and into uncharted territory. Distractors enjoy the control of herding their classmates’ minds, but they also like the chaos caused by the sudden appearance of unexpected subjects. (Or they’re just trying to revive a dying conversation in the hopes of avoiding whatever post-discussion activity the teacher has planned.)

9. The Genius

This person conserves their contributions, providing their ideas sparingly but effectively. Somehow, everything they say is succinct, relevant, correct, and eloquently-presented—a breath of fresh air compared to classmates like the Tail Chaser, the Distractor, and the Misinterpreter. Other types might understand the topic at hand equally well, but the Genius has the advantage of being able to communicate their understanding clearly.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Haunted Houses For Halloween In New Jersey

The Top Scariest Haunted Houses In New Jersey


Residing in New Jersey enables you to participate in various activities, and everyone has a favorite. In New Jersey, Halloween is also celebrated in a spooky way. There are many scariest haunted houses in NJ to celebrate Halloween. If you want to confront your greatest fears, Halloween Scariest haunted houses are ideal.

Keep Reading... Show less

Leaving My Backpack In The Library

Views about society and the stranger sitting right across from me


As a college student, my backpack is an extension of myself in many ways. It contains my notes, pens, and computer vital for my success in college. It contains the snacks and water bottle I need to survive long days on campus. It also contains the "in-case" items that help put my mind at rest if I forgot something from home: extra hair ties, masks, and that backup-backup snack. With so much in my backpack important to me and my life on campus, it is no wonder that I can get apprehensive about it when it is not with me or in my line of sight. And that makes me wonder.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.


Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.


As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FmWuCgJmxo

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments