Coexisting with one-sided conversationalists.
And do not make your request for a future discussion simply a ruse to get out of talking to this person. Be sure to find your friend or co-worker later and ask about this thing that is so enthralling to them. If you show yourself to be trustworthy, you might find that excusing yourself from similar situations will be easier in the future. Additionally, deciding to be at least lightly interested in what interests someone else can broaden your horizons and make you much more knowledgeable at parties.
What Doesn't Kill You ...
Now, suppose you have been invited to dinner by your good friend or significant other and you are both meeting up with Chatty Charlie. As is the custom, Chatty Charlie and your date have a lot in common and just won't stop talking about "whiff and poofs" or their favorite widgets. Obviously, you could decline to go out to dinner, but where would the fun be in that? Why not just let your date know that you are interested in learning more about Charlie, but that you would like to have more varied conversation every so often. With any luck your date will realize when things get out of hand and steer the conversation back to something that interests everyone. And if that doesn't work, you could always stop worrying about your own interests and enjoy getting to know your date better by listening to the lively "whiff and poof" discussion. Don't sit there and take it if things get uncomfortable for you. Otherwise, what doesn't kill you only makes you appear more mannerly.
The simple fact is that many of us no longer make time to listen to our friends. Slow down. Remember that other people are more important than you, and take a few minutes to listen to someone -- even someone who might talk non-stop for that few minutes.
"I Talk How Much?"
Finally, take stock of yourself to determine if you are a Chatty Cathy or Chatty Charlie. You might be selfishly monopolizing others' time and not even realize it. It's not always important to say everything the very moment you get someone's attention. Make a conscious choice to save some conversation for later. And try to start every conversation with, "Are you busy?" especially phone conversations. Also, watch for signs of boredom from the other party. Be hypersensitive to this and don't be afraid to ask how someone else is doing. You might think you'll never run out of things to talk about, but you just might run out of people to talk to.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Modern Manners Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips for A More Polite Life.
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