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OT - friend who talks a lot

Ok, so this is way off topic, but I could use some advice. I've got a friend (we are in our 30s) who talks a lot - she is cute, charming, and funny - but she absolutely loves to tell stories that are very long with way too many details that often don't seem to have much of a point. And she often repeats stories. I try to be patient and accept her for who she is. If we are talking in a group at a party or out in a bar and I've heard the story once (or several times) before, I'll casually slip away. But here is the current issue: we have a group of 5 to 6 girls who get together for dinner once a month or so. Some of the other girls are telling me that they are going to stop participating in the dinners because she dominates the conversation so much that they no longer enjoy the dinners. I really like this girl. She means well and I honestly don't think she realizes how she is coming across. What do I do? Should I say something to her? Or do I just let things go and plan separate activities with the other girls?

Fri. Oct 13, 10:39am

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looking at it from her perspective, i don't know how i would like it if a friend told me that the other people we'd been hanging out with did not like me, so i should change...i would feel great if my friend spoke up to the others and told them to go do their own thing, or speak up for themselves at one of the dinners. there is a diplomatic way to share your opinions about someone else's behavior so as not to come off as rude...if, however, you feel the same as the others, maybe some choice words to your friend would help her see how the other group members, including you, feel about her long stories, etc...maybe along the lines of, "i really would like to get to know everyone else a little more, maybe you could edit your stories a little so we have more time for others to talk, too."

Friday, October 13, 2006, 11:20 AM

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Great suggestion! I definitely would never try to say to her something about how others are feeling. That is not fair to them or her. I would only talk to her about my feelings. I do feel like her stories are too long, also. In fact, I always try to sit away from her at the dinners if possible so I can catch up with my other friends whom I don't see as often. I've always just tried to accept her for who she is....but now I'm wondering if I should say something. I do try to put myself in her shoes, and if I were her, I would want to know. But I just don't know if it is my place to say anything. I certainly do not want to hurt her.

Friday, October 13, 2006, 11:34 AM

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When she starts talking, interrupt and say wait, to another girl in the group, I wanted to hear what happened last week. Then say to the girl, oh, sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off. She'll say, oh, that's ok and then the conversation is changed. Do it a few times. She'll get the hint.

Friday, October 13, 2006, 11:37 AM

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The people I know who do this are all somewhat lonely folks who don't get a lot of chance for social interaction during the week (single adults, but also stay-at-home parents and spousal caregivers). I think sometimes all the bottled-up thoughts of the week come pouring out at once as soon as they get to see another unimpaired adult!

If this is the case with your friend you might do the counter-intuitive thing and try to include her in MORE social activities, and introduce her to MORE people. I've noticed that this often does help to normalize this kind of almost complusive talking.

Friday, October 13, 2006, 11:49 AM

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I have a friend who talks too much. I finally had a frank discussion with him and he wants to change. We've worked out some discreet signals I can send him when he's doing it again. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But it helps me to know he genuinely wants to change.

Friday, October 13, 2006, 11:49 AM

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1120 poster here

i think it would be good to be direct, as i continue to look at this from the friend's point of view...i would start with, " hey, can i give you a little constructive criticism? i really like going to these dinners, but sometimes you tend to dominate the conversation. sorry if this offends you, but i really want to talk with everyone at these dinners, and i feel like i don't often get that opportunity. how do you feel about that?"

Friday, October 13, 2006, 11:57 AM

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11:20/ 11:57 poster has a great point. if you feel comfortable enough with your friend that you can talk to her about it, do so. it's definitely possible to do it gently.
i have several friends who talk way too much, mostly about themselves. i find that they just fill the silence.. they talk as much as you let them. you have to be assertive and speak up when you want to talk. it feels like you're being pushy at first, but since the talky friend is being pushy and dominating the conversation, it evens out. maybe you could discuss this with your other friends. good luck... let us know what happens.

Friday, October 13, 2006, 12:53 PM

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I used to be one of those people who thought you had to talk like a book was written, adding all the flowery details to give the other person the full effect. I call it OVER-telling the story. I did it even at work. I never had the 'repeat' problem so much. It really helped me when my boss explained to me once that he was a to-the-point kind of person and to cut out all the extra stuff. Then my husband agreed that I embelished too much. After that, it made me aware of what I was doing and that it was not appealing. So, I made a conscious effort to change the way I communicate. It is probably one of the best things that I ever changed about myself. No body wants to be un-interesting.

I agree that the less a person has going on in their life, the more they do the embelishing and repeating. I know several retired people who do this. So, I have had a taste of my own medicine. :-)

Friday, October 13, 2006, 1:42 PM

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OP here

Thanks for all of the suggestions. The extra embellishment decription fits her to a T. She is fairly social so I don't think it is a case of her not getting out and having a chance to talk to people. And she really does it most of the time. She recently changed jobs and mentioned how at her old job she never fit quite fit in socially with her co-workers when they went out for drinks or dinner after work - but she couldn't figure out why. I'm wondering if this is the reason. She says her new job is much better from that perspective, but I'm also wondering if that is because she is new to her co-workers. She makes a wondeful first impression and is charming and entertaining...and you don't realize how much she dominates the conversation until you hang out with her several times. So I'm wondering if it may help her career wise, too.

Friday, October 13, 2006, 3:42 PM

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I used to be one of these people too!!! Like the above poster, my boss was the one that broke it too me-- he said something like, "You use a whole lot of words to say a whole lot of nothing." Ouch!

One of the reasons I talked so much was because I felt responsible for "entertaining" or keeping the conversation going... really all I was doing was stopping it. I find it very relaxing now to just listen to what people are saying and adding points here and there to enrich the conversation instead of directing it.

Let your friend know how you feel- Be sure to tell her that you enjoy hearing her stories, but you'd like to have a conversation when you're with her instead of being more of a sounding board.

Friday, October 13, 2006, 3:52 PM

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First to the 2nd poster the op never said her other friends didn't like the girl but that she just dominated the conversation. To the op, I am of the belief that if someone is truly a friend you should be able to tell them anything. If you enjoy getting together with these other ladies you should tell your friend in a nice way what is going on. After all you feel the same way. Chances are she already knows she talks a lot and someone in her 30 something year of life has told her this before. Just be honest and do it in a nice way while also letting her know you value her as a friend and a person, that this is hard for you to bring up and talk about but you think she needed to know how you and others feel in some situations. I have friends and then I have friends that I've known for over 20 years. We will always be friends no matter what and it is because we are honest with each other and love each other and this can only happen when you are a true friend. I have told these friends things that I wouldn't say to just any friend. And maybe for a few days we get mad at each other but then after having time we discuss it and understand whatever it is that got us mad and our friendship goes on like nothing happened. This is what you have to ask yourself. Is she a true friend? If you don't know then is she someone your willing to drift apart from? Does she enrich your life so much that you'd hate to lose her friendship? If you can't answer these then maybe your better off not saying anything and doing this monthly dinner thing on a different night or just not including her. But she might find out.

Saturday, October 14, 2006, 11:04 AM

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You know, your concern and the good feed back here may be a good tool to help her understand. If you break it to her, you may show her just how concerned you were to better the situation by asking for help and let her have a printed copy of this thread to refer to.

There is always an "ouch" phase. People don't generally change until they realize there is something they need to work on. Facing flaws is an 'owie', but that is part of the growth process for everyone. Everybody has something they can improve on socially.

Saturday, October 14, 2006, 12:20 PM

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Wow. You have an uncomfortable situation here. I think I may be one of those people who talk so much yet say so little. If someone confronted me about it, I think I would feel very embarassed and shamed. Perhaps if you invited her to Peertrainer and told her how great the community forum is, she might look and see herself in this thread.
There is also a book out called "Making Friends" which is written in very frank fashion and embellished with numerous cartoons. It is a great book and it might help to slip it on her desk at work anonymously (sp.?). The author also has one called "Being Happy" if that helps to find it at the bookstore.
There is much to be said about the saying,
"God made us with two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak".

Saturday, October 14, 2006, 11:41 PM

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My sister talks super-rapidly and it is often hard to get her attention and make her realize that she's been talking for several straight minutes without really taking a breath! In her case, it's a case of severe ADHD. That could be the case if your friend gets really absorbed in the conversation (i.e. her speech), and doesn't notice others' reactions, and talks really fast as well.

When my sister starts telling some long, intricate story that she's told before, I'll sometimes interject, and say, "oh yeah, when XX happened. It was really funny how that ended in YY - the conclusion. Then I change the subject.

Monday, October 16, 2006, 2:32 PM

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I too have had this problem with a friend. What I did was: I would go off on a tangent about something relating to myself. At the end, I'd say "ok, enough about me... lets talk about you. What do you think of me?" I'm sure you've heard that before. But I did it a number of times. I was making myself the target of the joke, even though I was aping her behavior, talking about myself ad infinitim. It worked. I think she began to realize that too much "me-talk" is selfish and self-centered. Without having a major confrontation, she began to change, making more of an effort to ask others how they were doing, etc.

Monday, October 16, 2006, 3:12 PM

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to the op

following up for an update from the OP. did you follow any of the advice you received here? how are the dinners?

Friday, October 27, 2006, 12:10 PM

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