How to Make Someone Shut Up

We all know someone who, when telling a story, tends to chatter endlessly . Sometimes it’s because they are ventilating and they just need an outlet. In other cases, it is a habit that they have acquired, but do not even realize. Meanwhile, you are a silent observer, absorbing every unnecessary detail of their story.

CNN recently shared advice on how to turn off an over-talker in the office who wastes your time on small talk, but these people are everywhere, not just in meetings. (Think of that trainer at the gym offering unwanted advice, or the passenger sitting next to you on the plane who wants to talk about politics.) If a gossiping coworker or talkative stranger never stops talking, we have a few quick ideas. escape, depending on how familiar you are.

First, clear signs of disinterest in a conversation can benefit you without interrupting them; do not take off your headphones, answer in monosyllables, or physically turn away from them to express your desire for the conversation to end. (Just don’t be a jerk if they’re not like that either. If I want someone to stop talking, sometimes I just check my phone and give a quick apology. Usually they take my message and we’ll go our separate ways.)

If this is a complete stranger, like a street agitator who won’t leave you alone, I prefer it to be easier. The short “it was nice talking to you” usually works. This means that you are no longer interested in the conversation, let alone talk about it and not lie that you are in a rush.

If your coworker doesn’t understand the big picture, interrupt and make it clear that you have a deadline or responsibility. In a recent conversation on Reddit, u / skeletorjellytor suggested saying something like “I’d like to chat, but I really need to focus on this.” A key part of this advice is to invite them to talk again – if you are truly interested in resuming the conversation. “If you just want them to leave you alone, leave it as it is,” said u / skeletorjellytor. “You don’t have to be rude, but you have to be persistent with your time.”

And if a friend just dominates the conversation when you’re with him, honesty works best in the long run. (They may not even realize how chatty they are.) Let them know that you cannot say a word or that you want to stick with the topic if they tend to stray. Listen and understand when to interrupt and when not; if they are breathing out, you should be a little more patient than usual. But if they just won’t let themselves breathe, sometimes the best way to act is to get down to business and let them know that you, too, have something to say.


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