Now wait just a damn minute here, folks.
Does that get your attention? I'm going to provide a much more radical interpretation of this entire thing.
You state: Anyways, as the conversation progresses, often people start talking more and for longer periods of time. I've always been told not to interrupt people[etc.]
Having read the entire post rather carefully, I get the impression that you actually getting bored.
When you have long talks with a person, that does not give them the right to go on and on and on and one and on without end. And make you sit there or stand there like a deaf-mute zombie, nodding your head politely. Because that is what will happen. Anyone who expects anyone else to sit at attention for many long minutes on end, is not engaging in a "talk". They are engaging in a "talk at you".
Having a talk with someone implies a back-and-forth, not just a forth, as is it were.
- Perhaps you are not in need of non-verbal cues. **You seem to already know those and use them.
- Perhaps you need to let your interlocutor know that you too can speak and cannot be expected to just listen without any response. What's the point of that anyway?
Perhaps you need good verbal cues, so you can respond to what is being said and say what you have to say too.
If a person wants a lecture or a diatribe (where you can sit for long time and may or may not become a zombie or fall asleep), go to a lecture. Lectures are a place to listen without interrupting and you needn't give off any verbal cues. I don't know where one goes for that, except to those people you'v been talking to....
What talk is worth sitting for a long time for and without being able to act like a human being, not being able to talk at all and just being sending out positive non-verbal cues? You might as well be a machine.
You will be the ultimate loser here, so to speak. Because even if you look interested, by this point, are you even interested? And aren't you already flying to the Caribbean in your head for a beach vacation?
Shiver my timbers. I think some of us here might have been misled by your post. Somehow, I don't think I was.
You have my permission to interrupt me anytime. Finally, you may have been taught not to interrupt: that's fine in the normal world. People are entitled to finish their thought(s), and so forth, but no one should talk at you non-stop while you excel at your verbal cues. That's OK for normal interaction but what you describe does not sound normal to me.
I think you've had it with that and don't yet know it. Also, I question these people who expect you to sit and listen in rapt attention. Who are they anyway? They don't sound like the kind of people I would put with for five seconds. What wisdom could they possibly be imparting?
It all sounds like verbal torture to me....Things have limits. Formats have limits. We all have limits and we need to let others know that.
I read between the lines of your post. I hope I did not overstep my boundaries.
Hey, maybe you just need a new job. :)