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Being talked at rather than talked with

(82 Posts)
Nantofran Sat 27-Jul-19 13:20:58

Very occasional poster here! Having had two telephone calls this morning from close family members, I suddenly realised that neither were particularly interested in anything I was trying to contribute to the conversations. Both were just talking but not listening, as both just carried on when I tried to join in.
Any ideas on how best to deal with situations like this?

lemongrove Sat 27-Jul-19 13:27:01

This rather depends on whether the close family members do this all the time, or it was a one off?
Did they really need you to listen and maybe advise?
If it was your adult children, (and they never ask about you)
Just go ahead and tell them about your day.

Nantofran Sat 27-Jul-19 13:33:41

Both do it most of the time, now I think about it. Conversations with them are just general, no advice needed. I'm the type of person who has never really "put my oar" in, so I tend to just make the usual noises and let them speak. Don't know why, it really annoyed me today, but I'd like a strategy!

KatyK Sat 27-Jul-19 13:34:06

There are similar posts on the 'moaning negativity' thread re people talking 'at' us.

Septimia Sat 27-Jul-19 13:34:53

I have friend who does this. You start a conversation and then she takes over, talking about all her experiences (and she's always done whatever it is you're talking about and is an expert). She's on her own a lot, so probably appreciates the chance to talk. I usually just switch off mentally, try to nod/grunt/agree in the right places and wait for a chance to leave!

Septimia Sat 27-Jul-19 13:36:05

"That's nice dear. My turn now!" ?

Nantofran Sat 27-Jul-19 13:40:34

These are not moaning negativity conversations, KatyK, just one sided conversations where I would feel bad mannered if I interrupted just to hear my own voice.

Pantglas1 Sat 27-Jul-19 15:50:17

I have a friend who does something similar in that she tells me all about trivial stuff that people she used to work with are doing/buying/going and I don’t know them!

Wouldn’t mind if it was riveting gossip but it’s simply boring and one story seems to link to another and then it leads to tales about their aunts, cousins, neighbours, Uncle Tom cobley and all!

Gaunt47 Sat 27-Jul-19 15:58:36

Know exactly what you mean Pantglas1. These people barely stop to take a breath. Over the last 20 years I have cut 6 of these people from my life, so bogged down and depressed did I feel. Still feel guilty about it though!

annep1 Sat 27-Jul-19 16:18:16

I know exactly what you mean. I know ladies like that and they talk quickly (so that you can't get a word in!) When they leave my head is spinning and I think phew! I have tried butting in loudly but it's too much effort and more exhausting than listening. Only way to deal with it is to be in their company as little as possible. You could when you get a chance to speak say something like "Oh I rarely see X nowadays. I find its a one way conversation. Shes never interested in what I have to say. That works for a while. .

Hetty58 Sat 27-Jul-19 16:47:59

Are they elderly family members I wonder?

My mother got very bad as she aged. She 'broadcast to the nation' rather than talked. She'd start with 'As you haven't phoned me' (well I didn't have two hours to spare, funny that) then she'd 'catch up' as she called it.

She'd tell me things, very boring things, several times over (forgetting that she'd told me).

I'd read my book or watch telly with subtitles, half/vaguely listening and putting in the odd 'I know', 'Really?' 'Oh' or 'Yeah'.

Any other contributions were met with 'Don't interrupt me! I haven't finished telling you about it!'

Sometimes she'd suddenly ask me 'Well what do YOU think/what would YOU do?' and I hadn't been listening. (Was it a test?) I'd say 'Oh, I don't know really, what do YOU think?'

I tried: She'd say:

'There's someone at the door! (I'll hold)
'I have to go out now!' (I'll phone later)
'The kids need me' (You spoil them)
'I can't hear you' (I'LL SHOUT THEN')

etc. etc. - it drove me up the wall and round the bend -
until I (conveniently) developed Narcolepsy and kept falling asleep after about fifteen minutes on the phone (naughty I know - to fib - but necessary)!

RosieLeah Sat 27-Jul-19 18:42:42

They may have phoned you out of a sense of duty rather than because they really wanted to. Sorry if that sounds harsh.

Treebee Sat 27-Jul-19 18:48:28

I know someone like this. She ignores my attempts to finish the conversation and starts up with another story. It panics me.

beautybumble Sat 27-Jul-19 23:00:51

Don't feel its you. More people seem to talk about themselves all the time and hardly ever listen to someone else. I get this a lot, my own family included. I just tell myself, its them who are rude not me who doesn't matter. I bet you're lovely.

KatyK Sun 28-Jul-19 10:25:09

A recent 'conversation' with a woman I know through my daughter springs to mind. I've known her as an acquaintance for about 15 years.

Me: How are you enjoying your retirement?
Her: Oh it's great. I help out in an office part-time. I help my daughter with her children. We've had lots of lovely holidays. We are going to Cuba next week. We've been before. We love it. I do charity work. I play golf. Sorry what was your name again?

Hetty58 Sun 28-Jul-19 10:41:30

I really hate this:
'Hello, how ARE you?'
(immediately followed by chat, chat, chat, just as you are opening your mouth to reply - so rude!)

Lilyflower Sun 28-Jul-19 11:28:11

I know a woman who does this and I now dread being with her without distractions. I once sat with her when she had a clock behind her back. She opened her mouth to speak and forty minutes later she was still going full pelt without my being able to get a single word in. I had to get up and make an excuse to leave the room because I thought my head was going to explode.

I know others who do the same.

What I would like to know is whether these people are so impervious they think every word they say is of massive importance and more interesting and crucial than anything anyone else has to say or whether they know but do not care. How could you be that stupid or that rude?

annep1 Sun 28-Jul-19 11:32:53

I don't get it. I once didn't contact someone for years because of this and then bumped into her and of course we ended up getting together and she still did the same thing.

She's an intelligent person so how does she not realise? She said We must keep in touch. No chance....

M0nica Sun 28-Jul-19 11:34:23

I am fortunate that DD and I have lots of twosided converstaions, but she lives alone and when something really irritates her she rings me up to have a rant about it.

I have become quite adept at gradually changing the conversation when the rant has gone on long enough. I am not sure how I do it, but I start with a vague question about something associated with the rant, if she is ranting about her employer, I might ask whether she has finally sorted her problem with the bank, and gradually move from that to other more general topics.

Could you do this with your family, ask them about something else in their lives and gradually make the conversation more general and mutual?

Callistemon Sun 28-Jul-19 11:42:34

I wonder if they are rather deaf?
Someone close to me does this, even if I just phone to confirm a date or time she talks on without interruption. She is quite deaf so if there is a slight pause I have to jump in and talk quite loudly. She's fine when we meet up.

I do know others who are quite self-absorbed though, and 'love the sound of their own voices', as my mother used to say.

NotSpaghetti Sun 28-Jul-19 11:57:07

Are the close family members older? Some older people I know are particularly focused on themselves.

I notice you say they've been doing it for ages though... maybe try "I have something to tell you in a minute, don't let me forget". Make sure you have something to say. I know two people this works with in similar situations.

Obviously you can't do it every time... or maybe you can actually as they might not notice!

Noreen3 Sun 28-Jul-19 12:11:24

I don't have this problem with my family,but with other people that I know.I'm a bit quiet,and I'm not one of these people who can talk endlessly about nothing in particular.It does make you feel uncomfortable,and left out of things,a bit more consideration is needed

grandMattie Sun 28-Jul-19 12:41:33

I agree with OP. Is worse for me when I go out to lunch or coffee. Has become a joke with DH and me, I’ll say 15/85 or 25/75, depending on my companion. It means that I’ll have 15% of talking time/about me and mine and they have the remaining 85%... I see I’m not alone. Gets a bit wearing though, doesn’t it?

notanan2 Sun 28-Jul-19 12:48:02

* I'm the type of person who has never really "put my oar" in, so I tend to just make the usual noises and let them speak*

But people like that/you are hard to converse with! So other people either ramble like idiots to fill the space or else resign to just never talking to you and losing contact!

Bakingmad0203 Sun 28-Jul-19 12:48:10

Yes I know quite a few people like that. My SIL does it all the time despite being told by her family to let other people talk.
She starts off by pretending to be interested in my news and after about a minute picks up on something I’ve said and interrupts, and then doesn’t stop talking and jumps from one subject to another which becomes very confusing. As soon as she realises no one is listening she suddenly stops, asks a question, doesn’t listen to the answer and is off again!

After 15 minutes of this my head is aching and I have to take an aspirin. It’s exhausting and she says such silly things and talks a lot of rubbish. She has always been like this. The odd thing is that if I interrupt her with a question about something she has said, she ignores it and just carries on talking.
I try not to see her very often.