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How to Avoid the Conversation Squatter

The Conversation Squatter can ruin a perfectly pleasant chat. How do you avoid this conversation bomb? Follow Modern Manners Guy's 3 easy tips.

By
Richie Frieman
November 25, 2013
Episode #273

Page 1 of 2

There are many types of people who can ruin a conversation. We have the Loud Talker - who, predictably, talks over everyone else. There is the Fast Talker - who can challenge an auctioneer to get a word in edgewise. And of course, there's the Conversation Squatter.

What? You’ve never heard of the Conversation Squatter?

Well, even if you haven’t heard the term, you’ve surely witnessed their unmannerly handiwork.

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The Conversation Squatter is a person who is not involved in a particular conversation, but who has no problem interjecting with their opinions – out of the clear blue sky - as if they were involved the entire time.  The Conversation Squatter does not care who you are, or what you’re talking about – they’ll attack when they’re ready, sabotaging more than one conversation at any given time.

So before you're on the receiving end of a sudden conversational bomb, check out with my top three quick and dirty tips on how to properly handle the Conversation Squatter:

Tip #1: Identify the Conversation Squatter

Before we get into how to avoid the Conversation Squatter, we must first take the time to properly identify this obnoxious species. There is a big difference between someone who interjects a conversation with purpose and someone who goes around searching for conversations to interrupt.

For example, there is nothing wrong with overhearing a conversation and wanting to offer your opinion. Like, “Excuse me, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear you talking…To get to that restaurant, it's really best to drive south on 95 and take Exit 5. It’s much faster that way.” This is a prime example of someone who heard a situation where they could help out, and spoke up. This is NOT a Conversation Squatter. This is what's known as a nice person. 

See also: How to Escape from an Awkward Conversation

 

On the other hand, the Conversation Squatter does not necessarily care to help in any way. If they do help - that’s due to an odd coincidence. Helping is not their main objective.

For example, the other day my friends David and Matt where having a conversation at their kids' soccer game. The conversation was all about picking a good restaurant for Matt’s wife’s birthday. They weren’t being loud, or even asking anyone else's opinion. Suddenly, fellow soccer parent Sue leans in and says, “No, not there! Their food is terrible!”

Note: David and Matt had never even spoken to her before, nor did they ask for her opinion. But Sue didn’t care.  Sue just wanted to hear herself talk. She did the same thing to another conversation shortly thereafter – which she was also not a part of – and then, came back to David and Matt later during the game to interject something else. This, my dear mannerly friends, is a Conversation Squatter.

Be it boredom, ego, or just plain nosiness, the Conversation Squatter feels his or her opinions are just as important as (if not more so) than whatever it is you're talking about. Unfortunately, their opinions are usually just random brain farts with no relevant substance. 

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