How to Respond to People Who Constantly Talk About You
Sometimes breaks are necessary – for example, if someone’s nonsensical speech at an awards ceremony is too long. But most of the time, interrupting when one person is talking to another is rude and annoying. And, unfortunately, some people constantly interrupt; no matter how many times someone points out what he is doing, he never stops.
Lucky for us, frequently interviewed and interviewed podcast writer and producer Rose Eveleth knows a thing or two about interrupters and has shared some tips on how to deal with them. Here’s what you need to know.
How to react when someone won’t stop talking about you
Forget the subtleties
You won’t get anywhere with courtesy or subtlety, so don’t wait for the other person to understand what they’re doing. (They will not.)
Don’t wait for a break
Twice, Eveleth notes that when you are dealing with someone who interrupts you, there are no pauses in the conversation, so you should not wait for them or assume that they will come sooner or later. (It won’t.) Instead, she offers this solid advice:
“Start a sentence just before your partner finishes theirs,” she writes. “Don’t wait until they actually finish their term. Don’t let them stop and think, “Am I really done?” Because the answer is always no.
Hidden question attack
Interrupt the person speaking for you by saying, “Jim (or whatever his name is), can I ask you something?” They will probably welcome the opportunity to talk more and explain things to you. When they pause for your question, go straight to what you said before or want to say now.
Can’t insert a word around the edge? Start saying (and repeating) the offender’s name. (e.g. “Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim.”) According to Eveleth, this is effective because it draws attention to the fact that someone is speaking for you, and using their name makes it clear that you are referring to them. .
At some point, they will have to acknowledge you, which will give you a chance to speak, and indicate that they were discussing you.
Laugh emergency break
As a last resort, Eveleth suggests laughing out loud when the person is talking to you. “Not a laugh, but a full laugh to be heard,” she writes. “It’s incredibly distracting for them because they have no idea what’s funny and can get them excited enough to throw them off the train.”