Have you ever had troubles dealing with someone who is difficult to talk to? Whether it’s your neighbours, your friends, acquaintances or even family members, it’s important to know how you should be handling a bad conversationalist, in order to become a better conversationalist yourself! This will ultimately make you more comfortable and confident with everyday conversation. Here are some tips on dealing with someone who is difficult to talk to. Good Luck!
1. The Talented One Who Can Speak without Breathing
The key to dealing with someone who simply won’t stop talking is to first understand why. The trouble with this individual is that they lack the power of conversation, but not the power of speech. You can change the topic or simply use conversation enders with body language, such as letting your gaze wander, or taking a small step away from them. Be assertive and tell them you’re finding it difficult to take in everything they’re saying, then depart with a smile.
2. The Interrupter
People who interrupt aren’t bad people. Most often, they don't understand the impact they’re having on people. They are so intent on getting their point across that they walk all over yours, which can make you feel disconnected toward the person, with anger and/or resentment, making your relationship suffer. Try your own, much more subtle, interruption, such as asking if they mind if you finish your point before you forget it (with a smile).
3. The Quiet One
This may mean they’re a hesitant speaker, slow to respond, shy or nervous. Try to draw them out by asking them questions about themselves. What are their interests? What do they do for work or fun? Ask them open-ended questions and try to avoid close-ended questions. Remember to actively listen to what the person is saying and follow up with "how" and "why" questions. If they’re still not contributing, let them be. They may just be having an off day.
4. The Battle between You and Their Ego
Everyone wants to be heard and feel important, understood and believed. This person will boast and they’ll attempt to engage in debates with you, to show off. They often don’t want to hear what anyone else has to say. They may feel inadequate discussing topics outside of their own accomplishments. After listening respectfully, attempt to distract, diffuse or challenge the person by talking about other lighter topics or topics you know more about. Usually behind a person's ego is someone feeling inadequate and small.
5. The Non-Conversationalist
If you think someone is ignoring you, first things first - make sure first that you’re not just being paranoid. Perhaps they’re dealing with some personal issues and need some space. If you notice this person is ignoring you and not others, try to think back. Have you have done something wrong? Try to confront the person and speak to them in private, and ask them why they’re ignoring you. If they continue to ignore you, leave them be.
6. Ms. Never-Wrong
No matter what, you’re wrong and they're right. They constantly disagree with your viewpoint and correct you. This type of person can be exhausting and frustrating to converse with. Resist the urge to be defensive and instead simply agree to disagree. In the future try to avoid conversations where your viewpoint will trodden on.
7. The Negative Nellie
Maintain a positive boundary; if you’re conversing with a negative person be careful, and don’t let yourself be affected by their problems. If you do, this can often leave you feeling exhausted and drained. Give them support; however know when to draw the line. If they’re being negative give a simple reply with a non-committal "I see." When they’re being positive reply with enthusiasm and interest. Alternatively stick to lighter topics and be cautious of how much time you spend with them. Negative people can be toxic to your mental health.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. It’s important to understand why people act out in the way they do. It’s usually because they’re feeling powerless and inadequate. Just remember, that it’s them, not you. It’s important to surround yourself with positive, like-mined people that will bring out the best in you. Have you ever experienced any tricky conversations? Perhaps you have some of your own tips on dealing with someone who's hard (or impossible) to talk to? Let me know!