I was at a gathering not too long ago where one of those present would not shut up. The guests of honor were forced to listen to the monologues. I interrupted a few times, directing questions to our guests - they weren’t from our area, and I was asking about their home. Wouldn’t you know, the chatterbox was familiar with their home, and had to share anecdotes about that, too.
How do you deal with situations like that? Have you ever told someone to stop dominating the conversation? Do you avoid inviting people who are proven motormouths?
If I was the host or hostess I would try to pluck up the courage to ask motormouth to come help for a minute in the kitchen. And nicely say ,“You’re not giving anyone else a chance to talk.” At least I’d try to. I’m a chicken, so I probably wouldn’t. I have a friend who would straight-up tell Motormouth to put a sock in it, in front of God and the whole group. She just don’t care.
I have an Uncle when he’s in his cups, he will not shut up. We just talk over him. There’s a family funny that he’s telling the same joke since 1974, never got to the punch-line yet!
I’m fairly introverted and don’t try to dominate social situations at all, but in the case you’re describing and assuming an informal gathering, I stop talking - period. I do the same thing with serial interrupters. I go completely silent for the rest of our interaction. Some leeway is allowed for the very young and the very old, but my general rule is you can interrupt me twice, then I’m through talking.
If I decide to talk, rest assured I have interesting and informative things to add, and frequently it’s info you need, but if you* don’t want to hear it it’s your loss, not mine.
Dealing one-on-one is easier than being part of a group being held captive by a person who knows everything about everything, at least to my mind. I’m not especially good at reading body language cues, but sometimes it’s apparent, even to me, that others in the company are looking for an escape. That’s when you just need an adorable toddler or puppy to wander into the room…
A layer of complexity is added when the motormouth happens to be your boss. Back in my Navy days, there were more than a few senior officers who held court over their juniors who were politically astute enough to pretend to be interested. Oh, how I hated those occasions.
The only thing that shuts my neighbor up is his wife, when she finally becomes embarrassed by his boring, endless yakking. Nothing stops him. If you say “John, we lived in that city for 50 years in the exact neighborhood you’re describing”, he’ll just pause until you’re done and then turn the recording back on exactly where he left off. If you say “Oh, yeah, you told us about this before”, he just says “Yeah”, and keeps plodding on to the end. Not only that, it’s the exact same words as the last time he told it. These are not interesting stories, my friends. These are stories about when he was in pharmacy school, about the history of dirt, about some neighborhood he visited. He is the embodiment of Mundane, Pointless Stuff that (he) Must Share.
People like this cannot be stopped. Nothing derails them. No hint is heavy enough. I’m pretty sure that if I just turned and walked away, he would continue to natter on. ‘Hello’ is a 20 minute conversation.
And he’s coming to my house today for a farewell breakfast for another neighbor. Pray for us all.
Seriously, I talk a lot. But I usually listen a lot too. However, sometimes conversational dynamics will result in an imbalance.
E.g., I once worked in an office of (fellow) engineers, most of whom had two traits fairly common among engineers: one, they didn’t have much interest in anything other than engineering; and two, they didn’t talk much. Problem was, me and another guy were exceptions to this. So we would get into detailed conversations during lunch in the conference room which interested no one but the two of us. Eventually, one of the silent majority told us we were dominating the lunchtime conversations. We responded by opting for the cafeteria for lunch, and the rest of the office got to listen to the TV in Quaker-like silence.
I would distinguish between my behavior above and people who can’t stay silent for any length of time:
I once played music with a guy who was a classic serial interrupter. He would ask me a question, and as I would start to answer it, he’d interrupt to ask another, unrelated question (or possibly, give his take on the question). The questions were really just for granting him permission to run his mouth. Repeat until your head explodes. And yes, nothing would make him realize that people weren’t happy about it. I thought about getting a squirt gun, but was concerned about safety issues around electric instruments.