"mmm, hmm.. mmm, hmm.. mmm,hmm..." What is this verbal expression???

Is it a way to rush someone to speak faster?

I was talking to a financial industry person over the phone and was asking questions about fees on something (not important to this post's situation...just mentioning for background) and in the middle of speaking, I heard him quickly say:

"mmm, hmm...mmm, hmm...mmm, hmm...mmm, hmm..." ..over and over again very quickly [Note: that second utterance after each comma is an "H," so the way the it sounds when said aloud is different from that first "mmm" sound] He kept saying this very quickly.

It was weird and annoying. It messed with my flow of thought and concentration and I had to pause to gather myself. When I began talking again, he quickly did the same thing...."mmm, hmm...mmm,hmm....mmm,hmm" over everything I was saying.

I recognize this sort of utterance can be a sign of a person following along and acknowledging your comments. But, when that is the case, the tone is different (hard to describe, but you know it when you hear it) and the speed is slow. This person's speed, however, was very rapid and he kept saying it (not just once in a while or after a deep, thoughtful comment was made and using a slow speed) over and over very quickly. I feel like he had to have known it was annoying me, as I stopped after he did it too much to try to focus my thoughts again. But, once I started back up, he'd do the same noises/utterances again right over my talking.

I wasn't taking up too much of his time. It was my first time calling in years. And I PAY him for certain services (not him, but his company). Is this a universal "hurry up and finish talking" utterance or something? It "felt" like he wanted me to speak quickly. I mean, I literally just started talking after introducing myself (name..account...basic problem) and by sentence three or four, he started doing this.

Weird? Normal?

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Weird and normal.

I know some people (like me) can be awkward at active listening. My "oh" and "mm hmm" rhythm isn't always smooth. What you described is something else.. I find it's more common in people who try to project confidence. It's dismissive.

When I find someone I know personally doing it, I'll stop my sentence and invite them to tell me what I was going to say. It's not exactly nice on my part, but it does make the point.
@1cent wrote:

Weird and normal.

I know some people (like me) can be awkward at active listening. My "oh" and "mm hmm" rhythm isn't always smooth. What you described is something else.. I find it's more common in people who try to project confidence. It's dismissive.

When I find someone I know personally doing it, I'll stop my sentence and invite them to tell me what I was going to say. It's not exactly nice on my part, but it does make the point.
Yeah, some people give those noises to convey "active listening" as you put it (I really like that wording), but you're right that this was not that....he was doing it extremely fast and in a tone that seemed to be trying to rush me.

I guess I now just see it was a rude "rushing" on his part. Not particularly nice, nor professional.
? This happened during a phone conversation. Nodding a head, leaning in slightly, or otherwise showing interest was not possible then. Even if they did those things during your conversation, you would not have seen them. Unless you know the person well, how can anyone determine that they were rushing you? Obviously, you felt rushed. Was this person in a hurry, needing a pit stop, or just being themselves and working at their pace? (Somewhere in the oldies, there is a wonderful interview. I think ? that Johnny Carson was interviewing the real Mister Rogers. They made much of how slow-- but not stupid-- Mister Rogers was. He just had his own plodding pace and his own brilliance.)

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. - Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib
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I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
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I think it's one of those things you had to have heard yourself.

It was done extremely fast. In replaying it in my mind just now, the pace of the "mmm, hmm"s increased even at one point. The only thing that signaled to me was that he was rushing me.

*shrug* Who knows. I know it was distracting and made me feel like he was rushing me.
I am pretty sure I know what you mean. I do it to Hubby, and I will try to stop. LOL

That would be pretty annoying on the phone!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2021 03:24PM by prince.
@prince wrote:

I am pretty sure I know what you mean. I do it to Hubby, and I will try to stop. LOL

That would be pretty annoying on the phone!
Doh - so it IS a rushing mechanism?
In our case, it's "yeah I already know this, you've said it 6,000 times before." mm hu, mm hu, mm hu.
So, indirectly a rushing mechanism. LOL
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