As an introvert, I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself in the midst of a conversation with someone who cannot stop talking. While instinctually, I have found myself wanting to run away, as we all know, that is not really socially acceptable, so I have found myself wondering about what it is that makes certain people talk so much and how to handle these conversations.
Even if you are not an introvert, you have likely found yourself in a situation with a conversation dominator. We all have. There are simply some people who enjoy talking so much, that they don’t care to allow others to talk, too. However, this can be extremely frustrating, because no one likes to be talked over, talked to death, or interrupted.
According to Psychology Today, there are many reasons why some people love to talk more than others. “Reasons for over-talking can be primarily intrinsic. Some people are naturally talkative, devotedly self-absorbed, or oblivious to the imbalance between talking and listening. But other reasons are primarily situational and can be identified and managed. After listening for a while, we can diagnose the situational reasons for over-talking and try to create more balance.”
Thankfully, Psychology Today also had some helpful tips.
1. Restructure the social environment.
Group structure can have a lot to do with participation. Basically, in larger groups, some people simply do not get to contribute. When the conversation gets broken down, we are able to start our own conversation and shift away from the larger group.
2. Stay thematic.
In conversations, we tend to have themes. For example, one person might be asking another about their favorite places to eat. Before you know it, the big talkers are telling about their past seven eating experiences. Keep the group on track by shifting back to the theme.
3. Change patterns.
You may be unintentionally encouraging talkers to take over by reinforcing their talkativeness. What I mean is that as long as you are nodding along or shaking your head, or interacting with the person, you are encouraging them. Instead, when you give them no response, the connection gets broken and their behavior ceases.