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How to stop letting people monopolize conversation

monopolize conversation
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I first learned the term “monologuing” from the book Complex PTSD by Pete Walker. Rather than the opening scene of a talk show, this type of monologuing happens when people monopolize conversation.

Only after reading this book did I understand how my past emotional neglect influenced the way I let people monopolize conversation.

Some of us grew up in households where our voices were not encouraged. We learned to stay small and silent, and refrain from expressing our needs or opinions to stay safe.

Some of us grew up in households where our voices were not encouraged. Click To Tweet

If you’re like me, you’ve allowed someone to keep talking at you even when you had no interest in what they were saying. You were afraid to assert your need to be heard, and allowed them to continue unchallenged.

It never occurred to you that you could end the monologue and walk away. You felt it was your duty to listen because you’ve been trained to cater to other people’s needs and not your own.

So, even if this person was a stranger, their desire to drone on trumped your need to be heard as an equal participant in the conversation. If you’re like me, and you want to put a stop to that, here’s how.

1. Stop feigning interest when people monopolize conversation.

Your well-honed people pleasing skills trap you in the listening seat to over talkers. You feel compelled to nod your head and m-hm in acknowledgment even though you want nothing more than for them to stop.

Your well-honed people pleasing skills trap you in the listening seat to over talkers. Click To Tweet

These false cues tell the monologue-r that you’re interested and want them to continue. Instead, let your true feelings of boredom show on your face. Look away instead of encouraging them to continue.

2. Speak up when people monopolize conversation.

Sometimes people take silence as an invitation to talk. If you’re not holding up your end of the conversation, they may feel compelled to keep talking to fill in the gaps.

Some people barely take a breath, but when they do jump in and speak your piece, even if it means changing the subject. They might take the hint that this is a dialogue and you are not there in listen only mode.

3. Interrupt them.

You don’t like to interrupt because it’s rude. But when people monopolize conversation you have to do what you can to get heard.

Sometimes, when the over talker won’t take a breath, you simply have to interject. They may try to re-interrupt you in which case you must persist in finishing your thought.

4. Excuse yourself.

When people monopolize conversation, you don’t have to stick around and listen. Take care of your needs by ending the “conversation” and move onto a more compelling one if you’re at a social event.

Your time is valuable and you don’t want to waste it listening to someone who bores you or has no interest in what you have to say.

5. Tell them.

If this is an ongoing issue with someone you care about, you’ll want to have a difficult conversation. Tell them you’d prefer if your talks were a little less one-sided.

They may apologize or they might become defensive. Either way, you’ll get needed information as to their character and how much they value your opinion.

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