What do you call (a noun or an adjective) a person who keeps talking to someone despite the fact that they're clearly not interested in having conversation with that person? The most typical (but not the only) case I can think of is when a man is making advances to a woman who is not interested in him and thus he keeps trying to initiate a conversation with her over and over again.

The word or phrase should mainly express that this kind of behaviour is annoying. A person behaving in such a way usually does so because they fail to realize that they are not as attractive or interesting to others as they think. I'm not after any particular word or phrase - I just want to describe this kind of person or behaviour with as few words as possible. Example usages of the word or phrase I'm looking for could be (but are not to limited to):

  1. This guy is really annoying - he's such a ... / he's so ...
    • Go on, send him a message!
    • No way, I've already sent him several messages and he just ignored me. I don't want to seem like a ... / to be ... / to behave ...

The best word I've found so far is pushy but it doesn't really express the idea of starting a conversation with someone who's not willing to talk.


10 Answers 10


Do you mean importunate?

If you describe someone as importunate, you think they are annoying because they keep trying to get something from you.

[formal, disapproval]

His secretary shielded him from importunate visitors.


  • Out of all the propositions this one best expresses the idea of demanding attention or nagging someone.
    – guest
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 7:10
  • Importunist would be the noun form, pity it doesn't really exist.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 7:54
  • 1
    While that's a good match for the meaning, I suspect it's not likely to be widely understood.
    – gidds
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 8:58


one that causes weariness and restlessness through lack of interest : one that causes boredom:

such as a dull or tiresome person


Is the standard noun in such circumstances. It is not specific for the example given, but the English language doesn’t work like a scientific taxonomy.

  • Ambrose Bierce; The devil's dictionary. "Bore"; someone who talks when you wish him to listen.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 10:32
  • The homophone boor could be used as well, meaning an uncouth or ill-mannered person. Not every bore will be a boor, or every boor a bore, but a loudmouth who rudely keeps trying to talk to you about something you're uninterested in would fit the bill. Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 13:12


Nuance: As annoying as a fly in the summer (Spanish proverb).

One definition of pest (M-W):

one that pesters or annoys : NUISANCE

Example sentence:

This guy is really annoying—he's such a pest!

Words to describe boring and/or annoying:

  • nudtnik (informal noun): a boring pest basically.
  • tiresome (adjective): tiring, annoying, or boring (Cambridge).

Related phrase: "Here's Why Some People Can't Take a Hint…" (SH; Shira).


A less common one is buttonholer. Merriam-Webster defines buttonhole as

to detain in conversation by or as if by holding on to the outer garments of

So, a buttonholder forces you to listen to them as if they’d hooked the buttonhole of your jacket with their finger.

  • 1
    +1 for getting as close to the intended meaning as possible (other answers are too general though not necessarily wrong). But this can still mean someone is enforcing the conversation because they can (like authorities, elders or children); the question is about persistently trying. (persistent was my initial thought, but it is too general). Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 8:42

A word which can be used with either a positive or a negative connotation is persistent.

According to Oxford Languages, it is defined as

continuing firmly or obstinately in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition

An example of the word being used with a negative connotation, as is the case in the question here, can be found in this video (at 4:10). In the video, a prankster calls somebody multiple times insisting they hang out. The prankee accuses the latter of being too “persistent”.


Stalker can be a strong word, as it means

a person who stalks : a person who pursues someone obsessively and aggressively to the point of harassment (M-W)

but in informal speech it is used to express annoyance, or to describe someone or oneself as annoying:

I often hear people say, “I don’t want to look like a stalker.” (linkedin)

“Oh, hi there,” I say to the little guy. He sniffs and tries to get on my lap.“What’s her name?” I ask, not letting on that I’ve heard him call the dog byname before. I don’t want to look like a stalker. (Someone’s Listening: By Seraphina Nova Glass)

He is such a stalker. Why can't he find out himself? “Nothing productive...just usual work.” “I don't want your witty answers....” (Ordinary to Extraordinary: Blessing in Disguise by Simrit Kaur Rajpal)

It is too early to be sure, but I am sure that there is a chance of fancying her in the future, even without her veela beauty, unlike Pansy, she is such a stalker, and she clings to me like I am the only thing that can keep her alive. (From Black to Blue, a Draco Malfoy Love Story)

  • "Stalker" means more more than just "annoying": you're right that it's expanded from the original sense of pursuit and harassment to a less dangerous obsession. But even with the widening of meaning you document, it requires obsession lasting considerably more than an hour or an evening.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 13:45


“not aware of or not noticing something, esp. what is happening around you”

Source: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/oblivious



a person who is a bore or nuisance

Source: Merriam-Webster, nudnik noun.


a hippo.

Hippopotamus: Huge mouth small ears.


Blind. "A blind speaker, he did not see her facial expression of impatient annoyance, her furtive watch-checks, and her tightly-crossed arms."

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