General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

How do you break off a conversation or meeting with a 'clinger' type person?

Asked by Yellowdog (12093points) July 26th, 2018

You probably know the drill.

They talk incessantly. They won’t get off the telephone, or if in person, you cannot walk away from them or break off a meeting or make them leave if they are in your home, They pretend not to get or fail to acknowledge normal cues that you have to leave.

Sometimes it seems you just have to hang up on them or walk away, upsetting them. Such people cause me to lose sleep or time or get off my normal schedule.

It may be rude of me, or of them, but I resent too much incursions into my personal time and space. And often times I really DO have somewhere else more important to be.

How do you end a conversation, meeting, or telephone conversation with someone who believes they’re pouring out their heart to you, and you’re just walking away—when in reality I need to be somewhere else or be sleeping?

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27 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s a quandary. My husband does that and I’m not as polite about cutting him off as I was during the first few months. He misses all the cues, so finally I’ll just walk out or tell him to stop talking, then he’ll accuse ME of being rude…..
When it happens with others I mumble something about having to be somewhere in 30 minutes and I have to get ready (so leave,) or make up some other BS.
Got stuck the other day with a woman who wanted to talk on and on and on and on about her house foundation problems, which led to plumbing problems, which led to doors not closing right, which lead to cracks in the walls…..I guess she thought we were just vitally interested in this stuff. We were on our way to a family event and we just stopped by, so I had a ready made excuse to leave. I really didn’t have to be there at a certain time, but I acted like I did.

chyna's avatar

I see you have met my oldest brother.
I can’t hardly get him off the phone when he calls. No matter what I say, he keeps talking. “Gotta go, the House is on fire.” He keeps talking. Other people are not as dense or persistent as he is. Most people wrap it up when I say I have to go.
I’m hoping someone on here has some advice I can use.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Those examples above sound like very isolated lonely people whom know that once you leave that they will not hear from your for a long while so they try to sum up all the events that bothered them or happy events as they think that you came because you were interested in them?
Much like people on a trip returning and they relay there adventures.
Try and make a date to spend time with them so that they don’t have to feel like saying everything at once. They probably bottled up all this to unleash it in a desperate way. They require emphatic understanding.
I had a friend going through a Divorce that did that and I understood right away as I had gone through the same years earlier.
One way to politely cut them off is to say “I would love to hear the rest of the story another time as I have to go now, sorry” Perhaps we can meet up for coffee and talk?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Man…well, can you just SCREAM “I HAVE TO GO!! GOOD BYE!!” @chyna?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Inspired_2write My husband isn’t isolated. He’s a bit self centered is all. He’s sure that what he has to say is more important that what anyone else has to say.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Perhaps he misses you..lonely?
As a married couple communication is very important, so maybe ask him if he feels lonely or misses times spent together in the past? Ask for the truth so that you can assist him and maybe plan a time together for just the two of you?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

So, my Grandmother? She’s infamous for this very thing. It’s almost as if she doesn’t hear me at all when I say “I have to get going, the kids need a bath before bed” or “Dinner is ready, I’ll talk to you later”. She keeps right on talking instead of wrapping up the conversation. It’s maddening. The family expects it so a lot of us tend to avoid phone conversations with her now. She even does it with overstaying her welcome.

I feel very much like you do about my time and personal space. When I’m spent, I’m spent. I get especially cranky when people don’t take the hint that it’s time to leave my house. Like others have said, I usually just say I have to be up early or have to get to an appointment.

Next time I might try, “It’s been fun but you’re becoming a bit of an annoyance and I need to you leave me alone or I might lose my sanity.” See how quickly they respond to that.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I simply say “I’ve got to hang up now”. Then, IF they keep on talking, I repeat, “I’ve got to go now” & then I hang up!!! IF they’re rude enough to mention it later, I remind them that I tried being polite by repeatedly telling them that I needed to go. Then I say, “Well, I ran out of time & HAD TO GO!!! It only takes 1 or 2 hang ups before they start saying “Oh OK, I’ll talk to you later” when I say I need to go!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Inspired_2write I don’t see how he could miss me when we’re together 24 / 7. We’ve been together for 15 years. There is no “truth,” except that he likes the sound of his own voice.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I second @LadyMarissa‘s plan!

ScienceChick's avatar

Maybe they are drawn to people who desire attention? Perhaps you need to change that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah, they do it to EVERYONE, @ScienceChick. You just have to find yourself in their circle for whatever reason. They don’t come searching for anyone. The woman I mentioned earlier, I can not stand. Not only because she talks non-stop about the most mundane things, but because she is stump stupid and very opinionated. She’s an expert in evreything. However, her husband was my husband’s best friend, and he died last January. She’s getting ready for an auction so we find ourselves over there rather frequently trying to help out. (I mention this to forestall anyone saying, “Just don’t go over there!”)

raum's avatar

If they are truly pouring their heart out to me, I try to make time for them.

If I really really need to be somewhere, I tell them that and also tell them when we can pick up the conversation later. Or ask them to text me.

Otherwise, “Gotta go! Bye!” works just fine.

ScienceChick's avatar

that’s weird. It is obviously a culture thing.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I have to go right now. Can you remember where we are for next time?
Usually next time, or later there is a whole other thing, but saying that gives the feeling that you care, if not what they are talking about, at least about them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, “culture” as in his whole damn family talks on and on and on and on. So yeah. It’s learned behavior.

ucme's avatar

Throw something at their soft heads, or if they’re on the phone, scream…no, wail down the line until your lungs shrink to the size of teabags.

kritiper's avatar

Walk away.

MrGrimm888's avatar

While you’re interacting with them, set an alarm for 2 minutes in the future. When it goes off, say it’s an important phone call…

LadyMarissa's avatar

Another that you might use is to say “oops, I’ve got another call coming in that I need to take. I’ll call you back later” & then hang up.

One friend who always called on his cell used to talk for hours without really saying anything important. I’d just hang up & the next time I talked to him I’d ask him why he hung up on me. He always blamed it on his cell service & never caught on to what I was doing.

kruger_d's avatar

Be aware that some people with autism have great difficulty interpreting social cues and facial expressions. They are not being rude, but need an explicite direction that the conversation is over, which may mean cutting them off. Walking them to the door can help if they are in your space.
For others who are oblivious to manners and inconsiderate of your time, same will do the job.

josie's avatar


“Gotta go. Talk to you later”

JLeslie's avatar

On the cell phone you can always act like you can’t hear them anymore or just hang up. Like the connection is failing. I don’t recommend that, but if you can’t stand it anymore you can use it once in a while.

On the phone I give a 5 minute warning so they can start wrapping it up. They’ll start a topic and I’ll say, “tell me quick I gotta run into the store,” or whatever I need to do. You can do it in person in some situations.

Yellowdog's avatar

Sometimes, they STILL don’t quit talking or wrap it up.

And some such people are physically very clingy as well.

JLeslie's avatar

My dad tends to be like that. He is better than he used to be.

LadyMarissa's avatar

That’s why “I” simply hang up after saying I have to go. It terminates “their” option to keep on talking.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have to do that to my husband too. He’ll say “good bye” 12 different times & ways if I don’t! It’s a family thing. The last time we visited them, after a while he came and asked if I was ready to go. I said, “Now, or in 30 minutes?”
Well, that pissed him off! When I’m ready to go I’ll go around and make sure I say “Good bye” to everyone, hugs if proper, spending just a few seconds, but when he’s ready to go he goes around and starts entirely new conversations with each person. Their whole family does it.

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