beautygrind

BLAH BLAH BLAH: How To Deal With A Conversation Hog

In etiquette, lifestyle on June 9, 2020 at 11:03 pm

Image Courtesy of Fauxels via Pexels

We’ve all  been there:  you’re on the phone with someone who drones on incessantly  with conversation, barely letting you get a word in edgewise.   Perhaps you’ve experienced this face to face – at work, over dinner at your favorite restaurant or in another social setting.

Wherever and whatever the case, the person doing all of the talking just won’t shut the f$%k up.  Like EVER.  Most of your attempts at contributing to the conversation are thwarted.  And every time you see this person coming down the hall or you see their name and number on the caller ID you roll your eyes because you know what’s about to happen.  As soon as you say  hello, they launch into a 100 mph conversation without ever checking to see if it’s really you on the phone, how your goldfish is doing, or if you are actually ok.  You feel trapped, plotting your escape just to be free from the never ending vortex of verbal diarrhea this person inflicts upon you.

You see, what we have here is a classic case of  the conversation hog.  A monopolizer of conversation.  Perhaps a conversation narcissist.

In many instances, the conversation hog may not even realize they are monopolizing the conversation.  They are usually oblivious for whatever  reason.  In an unintentional way, they are super focused on what they have to say, needing to sort out the contents of their mind and you, my friend, are their sounding board.  And it isn’t that what they have to say isn’t important but you would like the common courtesy extended to you to share in what is supposed to be a dialogue – not a monologue.  This conversational monopolization can also be a one off because the person is excited or concerned about something and really needs to talk which is definitely understandable.  In other cases, the conversation hog may actually be that self centered and not care about the people they are in conversation with.  If that is the case, you may want to consider limiting your conversation time with that person or cut that person off – especially if this occurs often.  Other characteristics of the conversation hog are:

  • People who take every single topic and turn it back to themselves.  For instance, you may share that you want to get a cat.  Instead of this person engaging you and asking questions about what kind of cat you want and if you have chosen a name,  they take over the topic and talk about how they also want a cat, how they are a cat whisperer and that they had cats growing up.  You never get to fully share your desire because the conversation hog rambles on and on about what they want in a cat.
  • People who rarely stop to listen.  You may have been granted an opportunity to actually speak (usually just an opportunity for the conversation hog to catch their breath) and you share some information like how your goldfish died only to not have this event in your life acknowledged or further engaged because  the conversation hog starts talking about all of their usually unrelated stuff.  To add insult to injury, they don’t even value you enough to remember that your goldfish died two weeks ago when you initially told them.
  • People who talk over you.  Yes – you start talking about something that is important to you and the conversation hog literally starts talking over you as if you weren’t mid-sentence.

So what, then, do you do when you cant seem to get a word in edgewise?

There are many things you can do, ranging from subtle to more direct which may give  a jolt of awareness to the conversation hog.  You never want to be mean or hurt someone’s feelings intentionally (or maybe you do) but there are instances where you will need to be a bit stern in your approach to get this particular person’s attention.  Below are several tips that you can use to help redirect the monologue to a more meaningful dialogue:

  • If it’s something they’ve told you for the millionth time you can actually say something like “Hey you’ve told me that several times before.”  Then use that opportunity to ask a question that will cause this person to think.  If it’s something they complain about often,  be bold but unconfrontational in asking them what  they are doing to change their situation or perspective.
  • Actively change the conversation.  Literally just change the subject and talk about what you want to talk about.
  • Turn up the volume on your verbal and non verbal expressions so as to get the attention of the rambler.  This might mean raising your voice to interrupt them. Maybe even perform a raucous clearing of the throat.  You might yawn (mouth covered of course), sigh loudly, raise your hand like you are in school or do the timeout sign to get the person’s attention.
  • Interrupt, perhaps with an “Excuse me, may I interject please?”
  • For your sanity, have a time limit, especially if you are on the phone.  If this conversation is in person, get up and leave the conversation, or maybe even introduce them to someone else.
  • If it’s someone you have a good relationship with, tell them how you feel.

How do you deal with those who hog the conversation? Leave your comment below.

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