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Thread: How to cut short a conversation?

  1. #1
    Celadon
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    How to cut short a conversation?

    How do you cut short a conversation, in a kind way, when a person is going on and on? I have a few friends who appreciate my listening, so they feel free to talk about their problems. But honestly, sometimes they get so wrapped up in what they're saying, repeating themselves, getting more and more whipped up and upset -- I feel like I could be a wall and it wouldn't matter to them.

    Recently with one friend, I just got so unable to listen any longer that I felt I NEEDED to get off the phone with her or else I was going to explode. So here's what I did:

    1. told her I had to go in a few minutes (made up some excuse).
    2. complimented her on how she was handling the situation.
    3. tried to sound very happy, not like I was annoyed so she wouldn't feel bad.
    4. gave some brief comments about something else fairly neutral.
    5. wished her a good night!

    Would you do anything else? or anything different? I have a hard time cutting people off when they're obviously talking about something sensitive and deep (though not life-and-death), but it really was too, too much. I think she talked for a half-hour straight!

  2. #2
    EveyH
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    Reciprocity

    Wow. I cannot believe you just wrote this. I've been searching the forums for just this topic. I've recently become friends with someone, and in the beginning I believed we both talked and listened equally, but lately, it been all about her. Every time we talk, she never asks anything about what is going on with me, how I'm doing, or did I even have a nice weekend, she just launches into her stuff. I'm struggling with this because I seem to attract these people....and would love to hear what people have to say about this.

    Not exactly the same as what you are saying, but what I am finding is how do I cut off this person's running on and on about themselves.

  3. #3
    thetruth
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    what i normally do that seems to work, is to stop responding to anything other than getting off the phone.

    if you say you have to go, but keep being part of the conversation, they will keep talking. if you say you have to go , and then talk less and less until they say goodbye , it ends.

    i have never had anyone think it was rude, and i do it to everyone and it's not as though i am being cold or distant, i answer questions , etc - it just becomes obvious that i really do have to go - and it would be rude of them to keep me.

  4. #4
    arwen
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    I think you handled that really politely. I wouldn't do it better!

  5. #5
    Celadon
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    I hear you, EveyH! I've run into a few others like us who have this problem. Definitely, it's like we attract the people. I'm sure we're all very very happy to help out from time to time, but there has got to be a balance, you know? Otherwise it's like we're giving unpaid therapy or something.

    One friend, she was very hurt and angry about being single and overweight and how unfair life was to her, but I'm very happy to report that after she got married she's been much better. Much happier. And one thing I did was compliment her on how well she listened one time, which only led to her listening more and more without interrupting. It was a miracle! I keep reinforcing that with her, telling her how grateful I am that she listens, which she does. So there is hope that people can change.

    Anyway, am looking forward to people's advice, too.

  6. #6
    Celadon
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    Thanks, thetruth, arwen. I am glad to hear that it's not taken as rude. I'm not good at making up a reason I need to get off the phone, and sometimes I think they'll feel bad about themselves if they know I just can't take it anymore, but I guess that can't be helped!

  7. #7
    thetruth
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    Quote Originally Posted by K8tie Kool [Register to see the link]
    Thanks, thetruth, arwen. I am glad to hear that it's not taken as rude. I'm not good at making up a reason I need to get off the phone, and sometimes I think they'll feel bad about themselves if they know I just can't take it anymore, but I guess that can't be helped!
    np. it's a mistake to think you need to give a reason. if you honestly say "hey, i gotta go - talk to you later" there doesn't need to be a reason.

  8. #8
    wildchild1
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    First, you have to be aware that you are not obligated to stay engaged in a lengthy conversation with a friend everytime you see or speak with them. Once you are aware of that, you have to be willing to act on that. By that I mean, politely tell them you must be going, but that you look forward to talking with them or possibly continue the discussion later if warrented.

    There is no need to lie, or be offensive, but being honest and to the point works for me. Something along the lines of-"I apologize, but I can't stay and talk, right now is not the best time for me." You could lie and be kurt about it, but remember there may be a time that you need someone to talk with.

  9. #9
    Casey13
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    Personally I would be direct and just say that I have a head ache and need to get off the phone and rest. If I wanted to be more tactical about it, it's always safe to say: "Listen, I have to run because someone is at the door." End of story.

  10. #10
    Cognitive_Canine
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    At a party:

    "I have to go mingle. Talk to you later"

    On phone:

    "I need to use the bathroom. I'll call you tomorrow. Hope everything turns out alright."

    On the street:

    "I am actually running late *look at watch*. I really have to go. Sorry"

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