Most people I've encountered in the backcountry are good at picking up on social cues and mood. They tend to be in touch with their inner monologues because it's all they've usually been listening to for hours at a time. A lot of people are out there for the solitude, and I respect that since that's what I'm often looking for too. After a day or two without seeing anyone though, I will sometimes get overly chatty. But I keep it in check. On my last long trip, there was a mother from a foreign country with a small child who asked to camp near me one evening because she said her daughter was frightened. Sure. That was fine. I don't think I'd react the same to a solo backpacker staking down right beside me.
But, in general, I can't say that I've had many attempted "third wheels." If it ever became an issue, I think I would do what I normally do in the front country and the real world -- just stop talking to them. Stop and drink my water. Tell them to go ahead or wish them "good luck on the trail today." Now I did encounter a very pleasant looking and friendly young lady at Bishop Pass this past summer who was working in the area. She kept up with me, and we talked the whole way down to the trailhead at South Lake, and I would have gladly socialized with her for hours more.
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