Once they open their mouths, some folks don’t know how to shut them. They seem unable to differentiate monologue from dialogue, dissertation from conversation, minutiae from significant details.
When you’re in such a “conversation,” you may initially think of yourself as a good listener. However, it’s not long before you realize that you’ve become the captive audience for one who will drone on and on for as long as you allow it to happen. Giving indirect hints that “enough is enough” usually doesn’t work. Hence, in such situations, you not only have a right to interrupt, you also have an obligation to do so to maintain your sanity.
Here are eight tips on how to interrupt an incessant talker:
- Segue into another topic. “That’s some story. But now I’d like to talk about something more upbeat.”
- Be direct. “I need to interrupt you. I want to tell you what happened to me yesterday.”
- Use the person’s name (always an attention-getter) then re-direct. “Jen, I get what you’re saying; it happened to me too.”
- Speak about your time situation. “Jared, I only have another minute to chat.”
- Help the person move forward. “Bob, what’s the bottom line here?”
- Give honest feedback (with a light touch, if you can). “Maria, I haven’t been able to get a word in edgewise. Time to let me talk.
- Make an ending statement. “I gotta go. I’m already late for an appointment. Talk to you another time.”
- When all else fails, there’s always the bathroom excuse.
If you think it’s rude, crude or insulting to implement these strategies, think again. They’re simply assertive ways to obtain your freedom when you’re being held hostage.
Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist and success coach. She specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.PsychWisdom.com.