General Question

iwamoto's avatar

Social hostage ?

Asked by iwamoto (5258points) September 12th, 2008

do you know that friend, who talks to you on the phone for example, and forces the conversation to continue, so when you start with words like “yeah, great, well, i think i’ll..” and that gets squashed with either a new topic or extending the current one, it’s pretty difficult, because i don’t want to be an ass and just hang up

what’s your experience with those guys ? any tips ?

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15 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

There is/was a device called “FALSE ALERT” and it is used a lot in the Washington Beltway area. Here’s how it works:

The device resembles a beeper/pager, and is worn clipped to your belt, where anyone can see it. It’s not a real beeper/pager at all; it just gives the appearance of being one.

On this device is a button, and when that button is discreetly pressed, a beeping noise is heard, 30 seconds later. The owner of the device then uses that as an excuse to either exit a boring meeting, or end a boring telephone conversation, by saying, “Excuse me, but I must contact my office, right away. You know how these electronic leashes are!”

So, during a telephone conversation, you can utilize a device like that (or a genuine beeper/pager) to give you an excuse to end the conversation that is boring you, or otherwise wasting your time.

Just make sure that the other party on the telephone conversation hears it being sounded, so s/he will believe that your conversation has been, in fact, interrupted.

If you don’t have that kind of device handy, then another thing you can do, assuming you are speaking on a landline telephone, is to dial your own landline phone number, with your cellular telephone, and when you hear the click in your ear on the landline, say to the person to whom you are currently speaking, “Excuse me just a second, please; I have an incoming call.” Then, answer your “incoming” call.

Come back to your original conversation and say something like, “Forgive me, but my other call is long-distance and is of a ‘family emergency’ nature, regarding my cousin in Nantucket, Rhode Island. Can we talk later?”

The other party will excuse you, in both instances, to handle the other, more pressing matter, I’m sure.

Anyway, those are some things I have done in the past, and I’ve never had any problems being believed. The trick, of course, is to make the interruption sound genuine enough, that the other person on the line will excuse you to handle whatever the “crisis” may be.

osullivanbr's avatar

My boss is one of those people. She’ll ring and talk for hours given half a chance, going over the same things over and over and over and over again. Sod it I don’t care really, she’s paying me, and if I can spend my day with a phone up to my ear while reading the paper and drinking coffee I’m happy. The great thing is, she can’t say why are we behind on this, or why wasn’t that done, ‘cause I can immediately respond and say, “well I was on the phone to you”.

Nimis's avatar

Be more assertive about it? Like Hey! I actually got to go! Give me a call later!

osullivanbr's avatar

Problem with me doing that though is she’d ring me later when I really need to get things done. Ah sod it, in my case, she pays me to be there. If she wants to pay me to sit down and listen to dribble for an hour or so, that’s fine with me.

SuperMouse's avatar

My sister (for the record not gimmedat) can be like that. I usually tend to go with it for as a long as I can, mostly because I feel like she is probably lonely and needs someone to talk to and I really don’t want to hurt her feelings. It usually gets to the point where I really do have to go, I never thought of it as being held hostage, but if it was a friend and not my sister I might feel differently.

charybdys's avatar

I knew a doctor who would page himself out of meetings or seminars if they bored him too much.

One thing to try is when they first call you, tell them you can’t talk too long because of some appointment or other. That way, 10–15 minutes in you can excuse yourself, and since they knew about it, it’s not a rude surprise or interruption.

But otherwise, just be more assertive.

JackAdams's avatar

@charybdys: You get a great answer click!

That’s really excellent advice; set a time limit at the beginning of the call.


augustlan's avatar

I’m with charybdys.

tWrex's avatar

You can always hang up and then call back real quick like, “My bad. I lost signal. But hey I gotta go, so I’ll talk to you later alright.” Make sure you speak first though otherwise you may get caught in that endless loop again.

JackAdams's avatar

A “lost signal” explanation doesn’t work, if you are speaking from a landline telephone.

tWrex's avatar

Ah yes. Power outage? Oh! Depending on your age, you could pick up another phone (if it’s a landline) and pretend to be your Dad telling you to “get off the damn phone!” That could work. Oh! Or you could set off a smoke alarm and be like, “Shite! Somethings up I gotta go! See ya!” and then call back and do what I said earlier, but change lost signal to faulty fire alarm and you still gotta go.

cwilbur's avatar

Don’t be afraid to be assertive. “Hey, I really need to keep this short, is there anything we really need to deal with now?” Pretending to have interruptions won’t solve the problem. Being direct about what you need to get done will.

iwamoto's avatar

i’m reading “be assertive” a lot, but in my case, it doesn’t help “no but i really gotta go” “yeah ok, but the thing was, i went there and…”

i think i’ll try the lst signal approach next time

cwilbur's avatar

Be more assertive. “I really gotta go.” “yeah, okay, but…” “No, I really gotta go.” “Sure, but the thing is…” “No, I really gotta go. I’m hanging up now. Goodbye!”

tWrex's avatar

House is on fire gotta jet! =)
Whoops… Oh boy… I just crapped myself. Lemme let you go.
or you could do this, cause this used to get my sister to let me off the phone. (we got older and now she doesn’t care anymore)

Go into the bathroom and start pouring liquid into the toilet. When they ask what you’re doing… that’s right.

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