Social Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

How do you react to a person who talks constantly yet says nothing?

Asked by KNOWITALL (15028 points ) February 4th, 2013

A friends girlfriend of four years talks incessantly to anyone who will stand by her.

How can we as a group, let this woman know that we want to get to know her better but we can’t because of her constant inane rambling?

It’s a group of about twenty friends who all feel the same but we don’t want to be rude or hurt her feelings, but it’s been FOUR YEARS now.

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30 Answers

ucme's avatar

Charades…anyone?

Sunny2's avatar

Has she made 1 friend in the group who could take her aside and try to explain. Start with, “Shh. Be quiet and listen.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ucme I missed almost the ENTIRE Super Bowl because she sat by me and talked the WHOLE time, followed me outside when I took a break and our host described her as obnoxious when we discussed this morning via facebook. I ended up drinking too much wine because I was about to hurt her or myself…lol

@Sunny2 No, none of us know her well enough for that. In her defense, she is from Chicago and was transplanted to rural Missouri.

ucme's avatar

@KNOWITALL I feel for you, I really do. You give out all kinds of hints & don’t want to appear rude & still they hang around, like a second shadow.

wundayatta's avatar

A friend of ours had a visitor from Texas this weekend. Our friend is a widow who has been living on her own for a couple of years now, except when her son visits, so I suspect that having someone else in the house for the whole weekend might be a bit much. But that wasn’t the problem.

It seems that the friend talked nonstop. And it was pressured speech. Like a firehose shooting out speech.

Apparantly, there is a history of bipolar in the family. Pressured speech is a symptom of bipolar.

Whatever it was, it was driving our friend crazy, so she bought her friend a train ticket to New York, and thus got rid of her.

That kind of talking is pretty unusual, @KNOWITALL. So there may be reasons for it besides that she was starved for company.

Seek's avatar

I’d probably just tell her “Y’know, you talk a whole lot for someone who never says anything.”

And then see how she processes that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@wundayatta It seems like her natural habit, as it’s happened the entire four years of the relationship, but I’m not sure if there’s a reason behind it or not.

We have had other people move tables to get away from us when she’s with us because she gets drunk and loud as well. It’s not that we don’t like her, because she is occasionally fun like at a Chiefs game, she just won’t shut that mouth (that sounds so mean!)

@Seek_Kolinahr Maybe but I’m afraid that would be hurtful for her.

burntbonez's avatar

Have you ever addressed it with her?

poisonedantidote's avatar

That reminds me of a story from when I used to work in a hotel, not the one with that guy who had a red car who was a bit crazy with the thing, but the other hotel with the Russian guy who had the green car, the one with the little “Why so serious” the joker bumper sticker, well I say green, it was more like an olive color. I don’t mean an olive color as in those black olives, I mean the green ones, with the kind of bitter acidic salty taste to them, kind of like those ones they serve in that Italian restaurant with the salad, the one with the owner who’s kid died, and since then the food has not been so good, you know, not the other Italian restaurant, well that kind of olive green…

Seek's avatar

/me bitchslaps @poisonedantidote to shut him up.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@poisonedantidote That is EXACTLY how it is, too, just on and on and on. Are you from Shytown too? lol

SpatzieLover's avatar

@KNOWITALL I tend to be as blunt as @Seek_Kolinahr. If I don’t really care to much about a person, then I may just ignore altogether.

I’d ignore, or be direct. Period. I don’t really see a middle ground in this type of situation.

If I sorta liked her I might ask if she’s ever read or seen a Jane Austen book/movie. If yes, I’d ask her what her thoughts are of Miss Bates in Emma. If no, “You remind me of Miss Bates.”

marinelife's avatar

Forget feelings. It is assaultive. Someone who cares about her should take her aside and tell her.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yeah, okay, this woman is blunt to the point of rudeness sometimes herself, so I should feel able to do that, but I don’t.

If we piss her off too much we lose a friend (they guy she’s dating), but if we don’t say anything he’ll continue to stay away from group activities as well, kind of a no win situation.

burntbonez's avatar

You can tell her about her behavior in a way that doesn’t put her on the defensive. Ask for her help. Talk about fairness. Don’t get involved in whether or not she does something. It’s always how you feel, and what you would like her to do to fix it.

janbb's avatar

I have a close friend who does that and I haven’t figured out how to stop it. I will be very rude sometimes and just interrupt her but it just stops the flow momentarily. It’s really a downer.

diavolobella's avatar

I can’t help but wonder if she does this out of nervousness. Maybe she’d really like to be friends with you all, but she senses you don’t like her much or you all intimidate her. It may be sheer nervousness that makes her prattle on and on. I sort of feel sorry for her. Do you think if you asked her specific questions, let her answer and then asked her a follow up that you could direct her conversation to something that interests you? Sort of divert her from just mindless talking onto a specific subject? Also, I find that if you talk a little more slowly and quietly to someone who is going on like that, they will sometimes slow down and match their volume level to yours. Or tell her you’ve got a headache so can she talk a little more softly.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

There’s no polite way to say “you’re boring/please stop talking/shut your pie hole.”

I wonder whether this lady’s ever been tested for ADHD, which can cause a person to blurt whatever’s on his/her mind, or if she might have a manic condition.

In the meantime, I’m afraid that she’s going to end up very lonely. As long as the mouth keeps moving nonstop, people are going to shun this lady.

Pachy's avatar

If you’re willing to risk making your friend angry, it seems to me you or someone in your group needs to talk with him about his girlfriend, and then it’s his responsibility to talk to her. But brace yourself—even if he agrees to do this, it probably will do no good. This is wired-in behavor. My best advice is either to learn to live with it or avoid the woman whenever possible.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Switch off and on again to say goodbye.

jca's avatar

I would find someone like that hard to tolerate and I would not want to make friends with them.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@SpatzieLover You’re not the only one who’s mastered the fine art of ignoring.

My mother-in-law talks nonstop. It’s impossible to have a conversation with or near her, because she’ll immediately interrupt and begin a long monologue. Her husband, brother, and sons have told her, many times, that she’s tedious. Some of the criticisms are kind and gentle; others are downright rude. None has any effect whatsoever.

For my part, I grew a “mute button” years ago. When she starts to talk, I put a benign, pleasant expression on my face and simply turn down the volume. I truly don’t hear a single word. She’s my husband’s mother, and she’s in my life by necessity rather than by choice, so I’ve learned how to keep the peace and avoid ugly confrontations. She can talk all she wants, but no power in the universe can force me to listen.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul I have a great aunt that had 9 kids…..and a husband that never shuts up.

She’s in her eighties now.

Long ago she told me, the best lesson I can teach you is to tune the noisy ones out. As she told me this she pretended to turn down the volume on her imaginary hearing aid.

“It’s how I’ve survived it this long!” she said smiling and winking at me.

blueiiznh's avatar

I vote for Duct Tape. They come in many fashionable patterns too.

Symbeline's avatar

I’d like to think that out of a group of 20 friends who have been friends for 4 years, at least one of you could take her aside and tell her. And if you don’t know her enough for that, then just how deep is this friendship? I hate to suggest it, but if nothing works, be firm. Not rude or mean, but get the point across. Feelings might be hurt, but sometimes that happens. If I wasn’t able to watch some eight hour long thing on TV because someone incessantly talked my ear off, I wouldn’t forget all my manners, but some of them would be left out.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Symbeline She has made most of us back off, we’re trying to be respectful of their relationship as we know SO’s come and go, but we’re all always friends. Now four years later, they’re wanting to ease back into group activities and we’re glad because we’ve missed our friend.

The only drawback is the issues above, and no one wants another four years of him not being around because we’ve ‘upset’ his girl or hurt her feelings. It worked out really well Sunday but she was still obnoxious so we’re trying to figure out how to shut her up nicely.

@diavolobella I feel a little sorry for her too, which is why I don’t want to hurt her feelings. I mean, if your SO had a group of besties and they all stopped coming around when you started a relationship, it would be difficult to NOT think it was because of you, but she’s also a crap-stirrer. Like she told ME that one of our really good friends (who is highly educated) thought he was better than everybody else, which is not true at all. So I’m not sure that she’s that nice of a person.

Thanks for the replies, I’m getting that I need to get to know her better, give her the benefit of the doubt, then maybe I can gently shut her up…lol

augustlan's avatar

Maybe take it on a case-by-case basis. Like, during the Super Bowl, you could say, “Let’s talk after the game. I’m really trying to watch this”, but when it’s less important to you just go ahead and let her ramble.

Another tactic might be to take turns. You and your friends can take short turns with her, getting called away by another friend every so often so you have a chance to escape, while another of the friends steps in and engages her in conversation for a while.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@augustlan Good idea, I may try that!

mattbrowne's avatar

Ask challenging questions.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@mattbrowne It’s a blank stare, I tried then I just tuned out. :)

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