Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers

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notrightinthehead

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Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« on: June 30, 2020, 04:07:55 AM »
I would really appreciate some input from others here. I have a problem with people who talk non stop. My mother and my husband liked to hear themselves talk and were not good at listening. I seem to be conditioned to listen,  even if I am bored or not interested or even offended. I consider myself to be a person who thinks before she talks and says what she has to say without much detail. Sometimes I need a bit of silence to formulate a thought.

When faced with people who like to monologue I tend to attempt a few times to get a word in, if that is unsuccessful I tend to shrink into myself, listen with increasing resentment and try to find an excuse to flee. When I get away I usually feel exhausted. In the past I attempted to address the problem with my NPDh, only to be told that I never said anything anyway. So it was my fault.  I normally don't confront such logorrheic people but recently I told a lady I met for the first time that I was disappointed from our meeting as I hardly got a word in. To which she said that I barely spoke, leaving  the burden of having a conversation all up to her. That just showed me how different our experiences were. I left with the feeling that  I had several times attempted to tell something about myself but was interrupted and cut short with another of her stories, mostly complaints about her daughter.  This was our first meeting ever, so I was not prepared to reciprocate with a complaint about my daughters, especially as I normally donít complain about them.

I have attempted to be talkative myself once many years ago  with a woman I knew superficially. After a short greeting I leapt into a monologue about people  from my office. I must have made her very uncomfortable because from then on she avoided me Ė making  sure  I could not vent on her again. While I was doing it I was aware that this might be inappropriate but I did it anyway since it had been done to me so many times. However, after that attempt I decided this was not my way to try to make new friends. Surely people who behave like that must have similar experiences?

Have you met such people and how do you deal with them? Do you have any good suggestions on how to get a word in or how to avoid feeling frustrated and exhausted in such an encounter?

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doglady

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 06:38:23 AM »
Great question NRITH, and one I often grapple with. I have a number of people in my life who monologue and seem to expect me to act as some kind of silent sounding board. I’m not a huge talker and I work in a listening profession so I guess it goes with the territory - plus I guess talkers love listeners.

However, sometimes there’s the odd occasion when I want to contribute to a conversation, too. But when I start talking I invariably find that the monologuer interrupts, becomes distracted, looks at their phone, has to go, etc, once they’ve had their lengthy vent. It’s all very frustrating and I have felt resentful too. It’s as if I have to hurry and finish so they can start up again! Like you, I have often just shut down and not bothered. I’ve also just fallen back on my usual MO: avoid the person like the plague - I guess it’s a modified flight response?

But here are some things I have tried, with varying levels of success:
- inviting others to comment, if there are more than two of us present;
- changIng the subject;
- keep talking, louder if necessary, when they keep interrupting;
- putting a limit on it, Eg saying, ‘ok, that’s enough talk about work, now;’
- using a three-step boundary system of 1. simply stating the data, 2. what you think about it, and 3. how it makes you feel: Eg. ‘you’re interrupting me/I haven’t finished what I’m saying yet’ and ‘it comes across as kind of rude and not helping a dialogue flow’ followed by ‘I feel like you’re not interested in listening to what I have to say, so it makes me shut down;’ (this is a basic boundary statement of data, perception and feelings - funnily enough, when I tried this, the person got very huffy about it and I resisted the urge to comfort her or let her play the victim. She apologised profusely because she could see I wasn’t going to let her off the hook. But then she did exactly the same old shtick when I next saw her! So I left after 10 minutes).

I really believe that the majority of incessant talkers really dislike being stopped in full flight, and often get very annoyed about it. I’ve had people say ‘what’s wrong with doglady?’ when I’ve asserted or, as a last resort, absented myself from their company. Because yes, there’s obviously something wrong with me not wanting to listen to someone rattle on with the same old crap.  ::) I have a uNPD GC bro and a very similar uncle who always hogged the floor at every opportunity so I’m also pretty triggered by it. They would’ve made great politicians.

I’m not sure there is an ultimate solution really, other than minimising contact or leaving the conversation.
I just find myself enjoying my own company or that of those who don’t need to blather on all the time a lot more these days.  :)

I agree it is totally exhausting and I’d love to hear what others have tried, too.


« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 06:58:59 AM by doglady »

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SparkStillLit

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 11:03:12 AM »
Updh is a monologuer, and frankly not interested in any of my interruptions unless they further his particular point. I try to keep knitting handy, but that isn't always reasonable (I actually know a lady who always has some in her purse, I may start doing that!). I might hŗve to pee, let dogs out, start dinner, switch the topic, make one of "those" statements "that must be frustrating" and switch topic, have to get the laundry....I don't know, all of this involves getting away...

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rubixcube

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 01:19:45 PM »
I'm the same, notrightinthehead. Monologuers exhaust me, and my resentment build the same until I am free. As I've gotten older I've consciously decided that the pain of having to endure monologuers is too great and creates too much anxiety. I've slowly become comfortable just telling them that I have to go, or THEY have to go. It seems to me getting away from these people is the only solution. We'd have to be more aggressive and talk more than they for anything to happen within the "conversation". Never gonna happen.

Good luck!

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Starboard Song

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 04:44:25 PM »
Asking probing questions helps sometimes.

A real monologuer doesn't want to fit to your interests or needs. Asking simple, favorable questions will make the listening easier and the talking less.

For instance, "Of all those behaviors you just described, which was the worst, and why?" or "If you could only fix one of those problems, which do you figure you'd pick?"

These are questions I will ask of a talker, to channel their monologue towards evaluation and solution, pros and cons. These questions are not remotely hostile and don't shut anything down, but they establish you as a participant, and I find that the other person constrains themselves once they realize they aren't just singing in the shower.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 10:10:59 AM by Starboard Song »
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Wilderhearts

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 02:58:07 AM »
I find myself in this situation a fair bit, as well.

I am trying to get used to "excuse me, I wasn't finished speaking," but that usually makes my heart rate go up enough I forget what I was trying to say.

I've heard of the "three attempt" rule...if someone cuts you off/interrupts you, let them speak until they finish, then start what you were saying from the beginning.  If it happens three times before you can finish what you're saying, conversation is over, because it's obviously not a real conversation.

I have two friends whom I really love - the three of us have great conversations, and give a lot of consideration to everyone.  One of them sometimes invites along a fourth friend, who is a compulsive talker and sucks the air out of the room.  I often do redirect the conversation to inquire about another friend when she's gone on too long.  What I read about, but haven't had the opportunity to attempt, is to summarize what she's saying so she knows she's been heard and can relax - we were listening, you are valued, stop competing with anything/everything/nothing for our attention.

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PeanutButter

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 03:42:22 AM »
"Of all those behaviors you just described, which was the worst, and why?" or "If you could only fix one of those problems, which do you figure you'd pick?"

I am definately a listener not a talker. So I relate to this.

I find the above questions interesting.
My answers would be:
The worst behavior I think is the interrupting. Because I am using politeness rules even though the other person is not.
I would pick fixing not forcing myself to listen to someone who doesn't listen to me.

As soon as the first awareness comes up that this is happening I agree to myself right now that I will walk away from the interaction in the future.
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notrightinthehead

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 04:19:45 AM »
Thanks for the support, Daglady, SparkStillLit, Rubixcube, Starboard Song, and Wilderhearts! It makes me so happy that I am not the only one who has a problem with this.

Doglady and Spark, I agree with you, getting away is probably a flight response,  our boundaries are violated when we have to endure a barrage of words. My experience, when I tried to call out the behaviour was either that I was blamed (you never say anything), or huffy response, or being ignored as if I never said anything.  I have tried talking louder but that has lead to people around us looking at us funny, because the other started talking louder too. The "let me finish" often leads to me forgetting what I wanted to say and if I remember , to talking very quickly and briefly. Which is a sign that I am in a stressed state of mind.

Starboard your suggestion  could work with someone who sticks to one topic and I will try that next time I find myself in such a situation (if I can think of it). It will not work with the type who jumps from one topic to another. I find that when faced with that I sometimes wonder what she wants to tell me, actually? Like when a trip is described and every little town on the route is listed, in my mind I call that reading the telephone directory to me.

Wilderhearts, I think the three attempt rule is a good help to decide if this is a real conversation or if I could leave it without it being noticed. I used to do that with NPDh when there were still landlines - I put the receiver down and did other things, when I came back he was still talking and hadn't noticed anything....I should have taken note of that red flag! I find when there are more people it all becomes easier. I can keep my cool and by now I have learned to be quite rude, turn my head away and start talking to somebody else. Even when there is only four people, I avoid eye contact with the talker and just start a conversation with the one that looks at me and I have found that sometimes that makes the talker stop. 

When faced with this behaviour I feel off balance, devalued, can't think clearly, and somehow feel less than, flashing back to my childhood when I tried so hard to please my mother and have her interest and she barely looked up from her newspaper and was irritated with me for wanting her attention. I feel I deflate. I wonder if I can get this response under control, would I be better able to handle such situations?

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notrightinthehead

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 04:24:19 AM »
I agree with you Peanutbutter, when faced with this behaviour we are tempted, or in my case act, in a way we consider impolite. So it seems to be a no win situation. I listen - I feel resentful and used. I don't listen - I feel rude. Either way, I feel bad about myself.

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Happypants

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2020, 07:29:25 AM »
Notrightinthehead - I wish I could suggest something useful for this, but I havenít yet managed to break the compulsion to make all the polite noises and listening gestures and to be honest, I begrudge going against my own manners just because a few individuals are caught up in their own voices.  I guess i just avoid those people when i can or make my excuses.

But, I did make full use of an opportunity to exercise some blatantly expressive manoeuvres on a complete and utter balloon of a man who gravitated to me on a long distance walking challenge.  The walk took place in an area that Iíve adored for my entire life but had always driven through.  This was my chance to walk it by myself but as part of a large group of people I didnít know - perfect, everyone was there to walk fast but with a bit of a team vibe with no pressure to speak.  Most were part of smaller teams with the exception of three individuals (happily individual, except for one  :roll: ).  We got dropped off at the start, beautiful morning at 6am, and there was my favourite place ahead to feast my eyes on in quiet meditative walking for next 9 hours.  But no, I could feel him edging towards me, he was a chatty type.  I thought it was nice acknowledging each other as the minority individuals.  But 30 minutes in (while passing jaw-dropping scenery) I was still hearing about his hobbies and life in general.  Iíd managed to say my name, where I was from (ďAh yes, Iíve been there, so anyway.....blah blah blahĒ), and a few attempts at breaking up his monologue.  I looked up at the scenery, counted how many years Iíd been waiting for this, stopped nodding and engaging, and doubled my walking speed while he was still talking to me.  I didnít look back, but heard muttering something.  It was ďrudeĒ but i didnt care.  I expected to regret my actions and for my guilt to spoil the following 8 hours of walking.  But he didnít enter my head until I was telling my other half about the walk that evening.  Five years ago I would probably have spent that entire walk with him then worrying if Iíd said anything wrong or offended him at any point.  It sounds really daft, but it felt like a major breakthrough.  Apologies, that actually turned into a monologue itself  :doh:
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 07:31:00 AM by Happypants »

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SparkStillLit

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2020, 10:33:10 AM »
In reading through this, I realized I don't really talk to many people!!!!! Most of my experiences are immediate family and updh!!!!!
YIKES!!!!
Updh's monologues are pretty much just rants. Anyone would want to flee from those, so I've little experience to draw from.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2020, 11:43:56 AM »
Wow I hear you and love all the good suggestions. For me there's different versions of a monologuer. It's easy when meeting someone and talking a time or two what my next steps would be.

The PD toxic kind, the ones who interrupt me if I'm speaking of my own situation or if I'm trying to participate in the monologue as if it were a conversation. A monologue isn't a conversation. These I just avoid. There's no actual conversation or interchange so there's no actual relationship nor will there be one.

If the person is not a "serial monologuer" and they pause I insert a question as Starboard mentions. I have a few friends this way. They vent and rant (two of them often) but at the first pause I prompt them as to what possible action they can take or have taken. It's on them and I facilitatethem to think for themselves. I don't advise. After a while the monologue stops and they will ask me what's new or something about me. This is a relationship worth checking into now and again but only if I'm up to it.

With those two if I call or if they call me they usually will ask me if I have time. That's only because consistently no matter who calls who in the past I have told them I have x number of minutes. It's always 15 minutes less than I actually have ;D

Plus before I call I make sure that I have in mind something I can actually say and share because for some reason the question "what's new"  catches me off-guard and if I say "nothing  much"  their monologue will begin on a new topic. the one friend though her monologues are generally on some subject of interest that she's been studying or reading and I actually learn lots.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 11:46:52 AM by Spring Butterfly »
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PeanutButter

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2020, 12:06:08 PM »
I agree with you Peanutbutter, when faced with this behaviour we are tempted, or in my case act, in a way we consider impolite. So it seems to be a no win situation. I listen - I feel resentful and used. I don't listen - I feel rude. Either way, I feel bad about myself.
Me too sometimes with a certian coworker I allow my mind to wonder away and just insert "ohs' and 'awhs' and 'really' when it seems called for to pretend im listening when im actually not. He talks at me not to me.
Why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for?
Your thread has brought this to my attention and I want to deal with it instead reacting this way. I feel bad as Im doing it because thats not the kind of person i want to be.
StarboardSong's questions helped me to try to think of a real solution.
Ill be following along to see what comes up now with all of us putting our minds together for a solution.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 12:07:51 PM by PeanutButter »
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Wilderhearts

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Re: Suggestions on how to deal with non stop talkers
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2020, 06:06:12 PM »
I was working through a situation where I would have to grey rock someone, but also enjoy connecting with many others at the same time.  This meant I'd be grey rocking him one minute, smiling and engaging with others the next - I would look very rude, and it could be obvious to him and everyone else that I was treating him differently, and not in a good way.  What I learned from this site and elsewhere, is to not worry whether your behaviour appears "rude" or "insane."  It minimizes harm.

I think the difference between our rude behaviour, and others' rude behaviour that prompted it, is our awareness of it.  Supposedly, because someone is oblivious to their rude behaviour (and we expect them to remain oblivious, as you've experienced with their denial, defensiveness, and script-flipping, NotRight), and we are not oblivious to our own rudeness, ours is somehow worse. 

Maybe it's rude, but it's functional.  I had an extremely inept man at work repeatedly explain the most basic things to me for weeks - a very frustrating waste of my time. I tolerated it politely (also put down the receiver several times and it didn't make a difference!).  When I had to explain something he didn't understand to him, he started talking over me as soon as he "got it".  No 'thank you,' just repeatedly said the same thing over and over to drown me out and dismiss me.  I hung up on him (I had been dismissed, after all  ;)).  I was not polite in our subsequent conversation; I interrupted him and said "yes I understand these incredibly basic concepts.  Yes, I am two steps ahead of you," and I said it in an irritated tone.  He did not call me the next day to waste my time "helping" me. 

I've seen people at my work whom I consider incredibly respectful, professionally astute, and interpersonally effective roll their eyes loudly in boardrooms when others are being ridiculous and wasting their time.  These are people whom I think are patient, respectful, and kind, but they'll show their irritation when they've reached their limits.

I know my attempts to practice that are probably a bit ruder, since I'm fumbling through this, but it also tells me that rudeness may be appropriate once you've tolerated a certain amount of disrespect.  It won't be my first option, but I'll keep it as an option.  More and more, like Happypants expressed, I don't feel guilty over it.  I kind of think of it as a mother dog snarling at puppies, to let them know they're out of line and that behaviour is  not appreciated or acceptable (even if the person is 40+ years my senior!).