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How to deal with people that dominate conversation and talk over others?(84 Posts)
Yesterday I went on a day/night out for a friend's hen day/night. There were 10 of us that went. I'm friends with them all but not good friends.
Two that went are very, very loud dominant characters. One in particular is extremely loud, talks constantly and expects full attention of everyone in the group every time she opens her mouth, which was extremely draining. We met up initially at lunchtime and had lunch as a group and for the whole of the lunch (90 mins) she talked and expected full attention of the group, in a very loud voice, talking about things about her and her life. No one else could get a word in edgeways. The other loud girl did sometimes get to speak but she'd usually totally cut off anyone that tried to speak and carry on talking, so in the end we all gave up. I tried a couple of times to make conversation in a little sub group with the 2 either side of me and she'd start looking at us all, saying our names, or pointing at us like she was directly talking to us and no one else so it felt rude to talk.
We did an activity in the afternoon, which was fine as we were in pairs/small groups and it was easy to avoid her, although she was VERY loud. Then in the evening we had another meal, during which she was even worse than lunchtime. We must have been in the restaurant for 2.5 hours and she talked the entire time. She had had a lot of alcohol and spoke again about things she'd told us in the morning at lunchtime, and again no one else could get a word in edgeways. If any of us spoke in a small group she'd just dominate the conversation and try to drag us back into listening. The few occasions anyone else did manage to talk she'd turn it back round onto her. I didn't hear her ask anyone else a single question about themselves, it was all about her.
I'm so cross. I feel she ruined the entire day tbh. I found her speeches very boring, she isn't very politically correct and I would imagine has caused a bit of offence.
How is it best to deal with people like that? Why do people get away with that kind of behaviour?
I've known several people like this over the years and I'm afraid I found them intolerable and refuse to socialise with them or spend any time with them these days
It's that whirlwind, Proud, it's messed about with your hand pump
I don't actually know what's wrong with me today. I do apologise.
Proud, that last comment really makes me wonder what you do for a living.
Snurk, do you do much hand-pumping?
My gavel didn't even makes sense <am bit of a twat>
I am also tres funny and entertaining can I just say!! I am just shy-ish with people I don't know in a non-work scenario. In work mode I am a social whirlwind and a hand pumping maniac <more twattage>
Whereas many people want to share their latest thoughts, gain most satisfaction from being heard and see others as an audience. I admit I've had 'conversations' I've come away from with nothing, as i was wrapped up with sharing my thoughts and didn't take that much notice of what others said. Very unsatisfying, as really, I think making connections is what it's all about.
Thing is, if everyone could take the 'host / facilitator' role, knowing this is not the same as making it about them but being willing to give of themselves to achieve it, situations like the OP's shouldn't arise.
Should add that I can absolutely do the tell funny stories and entertain thing too, and often do.
I think it's because mostly I don't need to talk about myself, when I go out/talk to other people it's because I want to be taken OUT of my own head iyswim, so I'm interested in what they think, not in talking about what I think, I already know what I think, I'd rather hear soemthing new and have something fresh to think about.
I will talk about muyself if asked, but it doesn't greatly interest me.
Do you Hully, could you say a bit more about how you think that came about?
I was going to say that, for the less naturally domineering, learning to play the 'host' role in a conversation, keeping it flowing by taking the lead where necessary, is just as important and difficult as not talking for the chatty. It's something I've had to learn to do in groups (can talk endlessly 1 to 1) and recognise when telling a story about myself might be just the thing to keep things moving.
MIND YOU lottie, I am genuinely interested in what people say and do tend to ask a lot of questions to get to the nub...and guess what? I get accused of making other people reveal themselves and not saying much about myself...
damned if you do etc
I agree with 'don't', so in that sense accept your gavel.
But...! Conversation about conversation, that is interesting (see I do like talking). Have people really not thought about how conversation works? I know it mostly comes naturally but it is interesting - or maybe I've spent far too long sitting in meetings, noticing how people talk and whether it gains attention and support. Not the same as social conversation but not entirely different.
So, I'll start, with this.
The most common mistake people make in conversation is to leap from 'I know something about that' to saying it, without pausing to consider if it is interesting, relevant or moves the discussion forward.
In a social sense this leads to the phenomenon of 'the bloke who tells you things' (but never asks questions about you) and 'the woman who has experienced that' (and is more interested in telling you the same old story again, than seeking to understand why you mentioned the issue and what your point or dilemma is) and, in a work sense to the 'serial illustrator' (who can always find another example to talk about but cannot focus on the purpose or desired outcome of the discussion).
So, the skill of self-editing is valuable. It is amazing how many conversations are just a sequence of related anecdotes and that can be fine but it can also be frustratingly pointless and unfulfilling.
Garlic, I have those all the time...convos about convos. She talks all the time about how she is really really working on her listening and everyone interrupts don't they? And anyway and another thing and....
Well, using your gavel on a discussion about people rudely refusing to listen to other people's views would be a bit counter-productive, Proud
I don't think there is any excuse for doing all the talking, softly or loudly, and taking over all conversation. If you know you do this - just, uhhhh, don't! Stop yourself. Stop talking. Listen. Ask about other people.
To the people who say they are shy or nervous - I am too (though got so much better in last five years because of my job where I have to meet new people at functions etc all the time) but it is a) easier to hide nerves by asking about other people and b) it is far more courteous and people will like you!
I also do the 'sorry X what were you saying' if the Big Gob interrupts or I go and get a drink/do a wee/talk to someone else/talk quietly to another member of the group.
<am I allowed to write 'gavel' or is that totally illlegal on here now?>
Oo-er, that grin looks scary in its santa hat, doesn't it?
DM is a one-woman monologue artiste. Not happy unless she is in charge of a conversation, interrupts, rarely asks about others.
I give my rather reserved dc 50p for everytime resist her interrupting what they're saying continue till they've finished their story/anecdote whatever.
I don't want them to learn from their grandmother that it's okay to accept being squashed in a social situation. Nice little earner for them too!
Hully ... <talks over everyone else> ... Any chance of getting a conversation going about conversation? If no-one had ever done this
to for me, I'd be even worse than I am!
Lots of people haven't ever thought about how conversations work.
i do this a bit i think, particularly the talking over i think it's because i had so many siblings - had to cut in to be heard. but that's no excuse now i'm a grown up... i suspect it's also to do with finding social stuff slightly overwhelming, talk or flight instead of fight or flight, iyswim
lottie (ignores garlic - JOKE), yes, family stuff I think. My close friend who is the worst, who LITERALLY has to talk about herslef all the time or feels uncomfortable and ignored, is seeking love and attention that she didn't get as a child. But of course it's self-defeating, because she is driving people mad.
It has affected me lately because we are often together in various social groupings and because I have long since given up attempting to speak when she is there, new people think me cold and unfriendly as I sit in silence....!! aaagggggggghhhhhhh
liveoutloud - Do what television interviewers do: "Can I just stop you there ..."
My Inner Jeremy Paxman is a tremendous asset I'm going to introduce him to my Conversationally Repressed Inner Child!
Ooh, some great posts here. Glad I caught up! Keep them coming, please, I'm learning good stuff
^^ see, I just made the thread about me, didn't I?
Mostly, I think I'm like Newshoes. I feel I really have to make a contribution to the conversation and then massively overdo it. There is definitely some overhang from the big family thing, too. Not only did we have to battle for airtime, but had a controlling parent who dictated long periods of silence. We were also expected to engage in competitive conversation at mealtimes - it was intended as a kind of debating practice, and we were all good in school debates, but that doesn't do much for one's light chat skills.
Thinking about it, the suppressed silences meant we'd all go mad when exuberant speech was allowed but had little exposure to the ebb & flow of normal conversation. So maybe, when I'm on a roll, I'm revelling in the freedom of being able to say what's in my head --> inner-child takeover! Hmm, I could work on that ...
From being a mainstay of the school debating club and a wannabe actress, I went on to a career in catering and then to sales. I was basically paid a small fortune to get people's attention, hold it and persuade them to do what I wanted. I'm sure this led to my grandstanding outside of work, too: using words to dominate can become a habit. Since most of my friends were in similar jobs, we all did it. No wonder we were always the liveliest table at restaurants! People must have hated us!
I hadn't given much thought to how the childhood led to the work, which led to dysfunctional conversational habits. I'm not being funny about helpful replies here; I really am learning something! Thank you for starting your thread, Galaxy!
What do you do if a person in question is your VERY close relative? She is not mean or anything just cannot control her talking. Talks all the time, never takes a deep breath and listens to others. It is almost painful being around her, and no, I cannot avoid her.
I once knew a whole family who talked really, really, really loudly. You could hear them from miles off, and they were completely oblivious. Lovely people, but talked at 200 decibels.
My sis had to tell me on a recent trip to visit her in London that you can only whisper on the buses. Not sure what she was trying to say!
Anyhow, not quite the same issue, but anyhow ...
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