Dealing with people who talk too much…

Not too long ago I was invited to dinner at my neighbor’s apartment. She’s a middle-aged lady, recently separated, and I think she’s a bit lonely. Let’s call her Cheryl.

She often knocks on our door to ask some quick question. This seemingly meaningless question usually leads to a longer monolog about what’s happening in her life and the latest gossip.

Problem is, she doesn’t seem to have an “off-button”. She never notices that she’s the only one talking and after a while, I have to come up with some sort of contrived excuse to end the conversation.

This problem was put on its head last weekend when she invited me and my girlfriend for dinner. I actually think it was a nice initiative, I think people talk too little with those around them nowadays.

Anyway, we went to the dinner and it was actually pretty nice.

She was the one doing most of the talking of course, but she asked us a few questions from time to time. But when we had finished eating, we didn’t have any excuse to leave so we stayed there, talking.

At this point, her questions about us had stopped long ago, now it was a pure monolog. She was very disappointed in Swedish health care. I know, because that’s the only thing she talked about for 4 hours…

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I’m honestly dumbfounded on how some people can talk forever without looking for input from anyone else. If I’m having a conversation and the other person doesn’t really contribute, I quickly lose interest in talking because I don’t see the point in talking about something if the other person isn’t interested.

I don’t want Cheryl to sound like a bad person in any way because she’s not. She’s very nice and friendly. I would actually have liked to invite her over for dinner (if it wasn’t for her endless talking).

gift from neighbor

Yesterday, Cheryl knocked on my door with a gift for me and my partner. It’s her home-made Finnish wine made from lemons and raisins. How nice isn’t that? The problem isn’t that she should be nicer. It’s that she is almost only interested in talking about herself and her opinions.

If Cheryl would show more interest in others, we’d probably be reasonably close. Maybe we’d share a cup of tea from time to time. But as it stands now, I try to avoid “getting stuck” with her, because I know she doesn’t have an “off button”.

It makes me a little sad thinking about it.

On the other hand, there’s something valuable we can learn from this: Even small changes in our behavior can make a massive difference in how we are perceived.

Click here to read my guide on how to deal with friends who only talk about themselves.

Do you have any similar experiences with people who talk too much? I and David would love to read your stories in the comments here.

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Viktor is a Counselor specialized in interpersonal communication and relationships. He manages Socialpro’s scientific review board. Follow on Twitter or read more.

Go to Comments (4)

4 thoughts on “Dealing with people who talk too much…”

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  1. Hi

    David I’m sure we all know people like this.

    I find it depends on the person so I have 2 methods which I use

    The first is the softly softly approach which generally encourages people to adjust to having a duo log instead of a manolog similar to the what you mentioned.

    Method 2
    The drastic approach, shorten the time and availability you afford the person.

    For axample

    Making your self Busy with other people or other things making the most of
    those vital hrs to do things which are of more importance rewarding and satisfying to
    Or simply more beneficial to you.

    Don’t allow your time to be waisted or your attention to be consumed.

    Don’t get upset with them
    Sometimes people may not even realise their doing it
    So we have to take charge and be responsible for ourselves

    Spend ONLY 5 or 10 mins in stead of 5 or 10 hrs with such persons if possible

    Hopefully they will get the message and realize that their not the only one with needs or in the coversation.

    If this fails you may find your self having to cut them off completely in some situations
    Only saying Hi and bye on occasions
    Until Hopefully they change

    Hope this helps

  2. I experience this frequently. First, I’m not much of a talkative personality. Therefore, I let others do much of the talking. I enjoy listening more and when I ca,n inquire about their life. However some friends of mine, I’m uninterested in continuing to see them because they are constantly monologuing. If the topic was something I can learn from that would be fine. But one old friend is constantly complaining about his life. My last incouter with him he was complaining about one topic the entire evening. It sounded like a broken record. And it felt like a diatribe listening to him. My other friend is the same thing except he is gossip about the ladies and who is dating who in a mutual group we belong to. Since I’m not dating at all I feel bad about myself and jealousy about everyone else. I want to let these friends go or at least put them aside. But if I do that I don’t have any other friends I like to be around to replace them and then I’m staying home surfing the internet. I then feel like I’m missing out on socializing.

  3. My dad does that all the time , it gets so boring we just sit their and act like we’re listening, probably fall asleep be daydreaming anad I know some other folks that do that I think it’s maybe do to age ? Well thanks for sharing glad to know you know how we feel. Keep me updated on everything else .

  4. Hi David,

    Thanks for sharing. My father is the same. He does not have an off button. I think it has affected his career and many of his interpersonal relationships. It’s just too bad.


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