Any hints for dealing with an obsessive talker?

Mr. Athena and I know a couple that we really like, and we’re relatively close with. We don’t see them more than once every couple of months because we both have busy schedules, but we’ve known them for going on ten years now, and definitely want to keep up the friendship.

That said… we do have an issue with the guy in the couple. I’ll call him Maynard. Maynard is the nicest guy you can imagine, always quick to help if you need anything, has some interesting hobbies, and is a bright guy. The problem? Hoo-boy, is he a talker. Stone-cold sober, he’ll talk your ear off. Get a beer or two in him, as is common at most social events we go to with them, and he literally doesn’t shut up. He’ll turn to the person next to him at the table, start talking about something, and 20 minutes later you want to jam a fork in your eye because there is no room to get a word in edgewise, and he goes on and on in stunning detail about whatever he’s talking about. It’s almost laughable - if he’s talking about a building project, you’ll find out what size bolts he bought, how much they cost, what colors of paint he contemplated, and what he had for lunch that day. It’s actually become a joke among our social crowd - “Hey, Athena, I see you got Maynarded last night!” - “Maynarded” referring to the practice of being caught listening to him without stop for what seems like hours at a time.

And he seems to be getting worse. When it used to be every third or fourth time we saw him someone would get Maynarded, now it’s every time.

We’re planning to have dinner with them next week. Any hint/tips to avoid being Maynarded? Mr. Athena and I have already signed a pact to try to save each other if we see it happening, but man, it’s hard. I’ve actually just turned and walked away at times, and though it’s really not polite, Maynard himself doesn’t seem to get mad at it. How the heck do you deal with a guy like this, besides cutting off the friendship altogether?

I don’t know, but I am tuning into this thread. We have, well, two Maynards in our lives, and also a third contender. All three are guys. For one of them, I have just started talking right the hell over him until he hears me saying something. It works but is not elegant.

That might work for the moment, but it won’t get him to change his behavior. The only thing that could maybe possibly work for the long term is having a conversation with the talker about how he is great and funny and interesting, but he needs to learn to be a part of the conversation, not dominate it. Maybe it would work better by email.

Of course, that’s easy for me to say over the internet, but I don’t know how easy I would find it to actually have that conversation with a talker in person. I don’t remember if I’ve seen a specific post regarding something like this, but I’ve found that Captain Awkward is a good advice column site that has a lot of good advice on awkward relationship problems, both romantic and platonic. Maybe you can find some good advice there.

A terser OP might have brought more sympathy.

Sorry. At first glance, I thought you were recommending a taser.

You can’t be too polite (i.e. waiting “to get a word in edgewise”). You have to swing your dick a little and take control of the conversation. Dominate that shit.

But deprived the OP of your precious gift of snark.

The alternative was an incredibly long response. Which would you prefer?

We have a Maynard at work. We also use phrases like “Too bad you got Maynarded at lunch today.”

Various tactics have bee deployed, none with any success to speak of. The most effective has been the straight-up-ignore-at-all-cost approach, which involves blatantly turning and walking away from Maynard when he comes near. This sends a clear message, but also makes for some social awkwardness at work.

I either try to be more subtle about the avoidance or just interject with something like, “hey that’s pretty cool Maynard, maybe we can catch up on that later, but I need to go speak with Jedediah.” It’s also helpful when other people sense what’s happening to you and can find a reason to steal you away from Maynard.

A casual scan of your profile produced this fact:

“TriPolar has not made any friends yet”

Hard to believe.

Well, I thought it was funny. :slight_smile:

Tennis Ball.

You get to a certain point, you just shove it in their open mouth.

Coming as it does from the king of SDMB snark-deprivation, this surely carries a great deal of weight.

Unless you have it in you to be the bitch; you’re going to have to live with it.

Lot’s of Maynards don’t realize they are droning on. Pushing them towards the end of the conversation using phrases like: “So what finally happened?” “How did it turn out?” or even: “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” while they are still in mid sentence, helps clue them in.

And TRUST me, this will be nothing new to Maynard. He deals with this all the time. He’s just never got it from you because you’re too polite or nice.

My best friend is like this, with him, I take it to the next level. Which is: “OH, COME ON! WRAP IT THE FUCK UP!!” :smiley:

I’ll be watching this thread too - I know a couple folks like this and I’ve not come up with a solution either. I just end up tuning out and letting them natter on - it’s not like they notice.

I used to know someone like that… Once, he’d latched on to me, and wouldn’t let go. I tried all the usual conversational disengages. “Well, I gotta go now…” Didn’t work.

I spotted a co-worker passing nearby, jumped up, grabbed him by the arm, and walked with him, fast, up a stairway, around a corner, and into a conference room, and turned the lights off.

After a bit, the co-worker said, gently, “I’m going to presume there is a reason for this.”

A bunch of us ended up with a mutual defense network. Anyone who got trapped by the Maynard would be rescued. “Hey, Joe, come, quick, Earl wants you.” “Okay… Sorry, Maynard, gotta go!”

If your guy is utterly clueless, you might be forced to such extremes. If not, talk to him. Explain politely and gently. “This isn’t working…” Good luck…

I have been dealing with a Maynard now for the last 4 years about 1 time a month. A few months ago I told him very directly I enjoyed bs-ing with him but I can never get a word in because you never stop talking. It helped for that day, he just clammed up and dropped out of the conversation. Next time I saw him I tried to be friendly and he went right back to normal. I try to avoid hin now.

I knew another Maynard. He was kind of autistic, and never understood what he was doing wrong. A therapist finally explained it to him in the only terms that made sense to his rather oblivious way of thinking.

“Maynard, if you are in the company of x people, you can only talk for 1/x part of the time. If you are talking with one other person, you need to talk less then half the time. If you are in a company of four people, you only get to talk 25% of the time. Follow that rule and you’re set.”.

I am available for contract services.

Things That Need To Be Said
Handling the uncomfortable since 1962

I’m absolutely floored that everyone dealing with someone like this just happens to be dealing witha guy named Maynard. What’re the odds?