Over half of adults admit they have conversations with inanimate objects, plants, and pets

As PG has mentioned before, the holidays are often an information desert for articles about writing and the book business, hence this post.

For those interested in being organized, PG suggests that you might file this post under A Frolic of His Own, a legal term used almost exclusively in law school Torts classes.

If the meaning of A Frolic of His Own puzzles you, see the opinion in Joel v. Morison by The Honorable James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale in the Court of Exchequer, July 3, 1834.

To the best of PG’s knowledge, this opinion is the only reason anyone remembers the first Baron of Wensleydale any more.

By this dismissal of the Baron, PG is most certainly not impugning the fame of Wensleydale Cheese, which no less a celebrity than George Orwell ranked as the second-best cheese in Britain, bested only by Stilton, in one of his lesser-known works, In Defense of English Cooking.

Consumer Warning: The title essay is only three pages long out of a printed book length of about 56 pages.

In more recent times, Wensleydale Cheese undoubtedly achieved its greatest fame due to its being mentioned in various episodes of Wallace and Gromit.

From StudyFinds:

Many people act a bit “differently” within the privacy of their own home, but a new survey finds most adults are actually having full-on conversations with items that can’t talk back! The poll of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom finds over half routinely “chat” with inanimate objects at home. Another 60 percent say they’ll often have “entirely two-way” conversations with their pets.

Commissioned by TheJoyOfPlants.co.uk and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also finds 44 percent of adults frequently talk with their house plants. Within that group, four in 10 usually ask their plant if it’s thirsty.

A bit more understandably, over a quarter have lashed out verbally at an object or appliance for failing to do its job. For example, people often scold their TV or coffee maker for failing to turn on. Conversely, sometimes household items perform their functions a bit too well. Twenty-four percent admit they’ve yelled at an alarm clock to shut up. Meanwhile, close to 20 percent have pleaded with their car to keep going while low on fuel and over 10 percent have verbally thanked an ATM for dispensing their cash.

Most respondents have been caught mid-conversation by another human being. As many as six in 10 have been exposed while talking to an object and over half of those situations (60%) ended in laughter.

Plants love hearing a soothing voice

These chats are quite frequent as well. About six in 10 adults talk with their plants on a weekly basis. Another eight percent talk to their plants every day! Close to 40 percent believe these pep talks help their plants grow, while 37 percent report feeling happier themselves after speaking with some shrubs.

. . . .

As far as specific comments, “you need a drink”, “you’re getting big”, and “you’re not looking your best” are the most common things people say to plants. 

Link to the rest at Study Finds

5 thoughts on “Over half of adults admit they have conversations with inanimate objects, plants, and pets”

  1. Talking to pets isn’t particularly excentric.
    Dogs understand us better than we understand them. Cats also but are too cool to admit it. They don’t want the staff to get too uppity.

    Talking to the inanimate needs qualifying since these days a lot of objects listen and many even answer.

    Plants, though…

  2. I say, thank you, to the florescent lights in my utility room when they come on, and often thank them before I turn them off. “Thank you for the light.” The light is plasma based, so technically alive.

    At the store, when I am using self check-out, I will respond outloud to the verbal comments and queries the machine says.

    I thank elevators, when they arrive and generally when I get off.

    I usually say, “That was fun,” when I step off an escalator.

    I’m in the process of writing a 30+ novel series based on the word that PG posted on TPV, 21 June 2018


    . . . .

    The theory that inanimate objects are hostile to humans; hostility manifested by inanimate

    . . . .

    1948 P. Jennings in Spectator 23 Apr. 491/1 Resistentialism is a philosophy of tragic
    grandeur… Resistentialism derives its name from its central thesis that Things (res) resist (résister) men… Resistentialism is the philosophy of what Things think about us.

    . . . .

    1996 C. H. Elster There’s Word for It! (2005) 246 Even my daughter..is well aware of the
    sinister power of resistentialism… Not long ago I heard her crying from another room. I ran to her aid and found her frowning at a chair. ‘That chair bumped me.’

    Link to the rest at The Oxford English Dictionary (http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/241720?)


    I often ask, “Now, where are you hiding,” when I’m at the store and something is not where it should be.

    Then there is of course:

    Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium Theatrical Trailer

    • None of that is of concern as long as you don’t expect objects to reply. 😀

      In the XANTH fantasy series, one of Piers Anthony’s earliest protagonists is Dor, with the gift of talking to the inanimate. Who do answer back. It turns out to be a singularly flexible and effective ability. Of course, nobody has any privacy when he’s around.

      The series, BTW, is up to volume 46. Of note:
      “Anthony has stated that he has kept the series going as long as he has because the Xanth novels are “just about all that publishers want” from him.”


      Not quite true considering how prolific he is but they’d better be paying him well considering how the books sell.

  3. As long as machines respond to invective, people will be talking to them. Or at them, as the case may be. *glowers at the memory of an unlamented copier*

  4. I say, “thank you,” whenever I approach a traffic light and it turns green before I stop. I’m not sure if I’m thanking the light, or thanking God/the Universe for changing it for me.

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