Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Moving on without alienating listeners

Moving on is especially difficult when listeners feel alienated

Q: Someone I'm very close to recently told me, "You know, you talk about (Topic) way too much. It's getting really boring." (Topic) is something that's very significant to me right now, and while I knew I was talking about it a lot, it still really hurt me to hear that I'm boring others with it.

Now I'm self-conscious about ever mentioning (Topic), and that's a lonely feeling. What do you think I should do to keep from hurting friendships by being overly focused on this one thing?

Philadelphia

A: Your very close someone gets points off for tactlessness but still did you a favor. Painful as it is, it's better to know you've maxed out at least one person's listening capacity than alienate others as you unwittingly prattle on about (Topic).

So, what to do next:

(1) Hire someone to listen to you. Whatever (Topic) is, there's someone out there with the expertise to help you. Start looking for your safe place to unload. Talking about it beyond even one listener's limits likely means it's time to find a way to stop talking and start moving forward.

(2) Don't banish (Topic) from all conversations, but be mindful of others' limits and, ideally, be open about them: "I realize I've beaten (Topic) to death, but I have something I'd like to bounce off you. May I impose on you for 15 minutes?" And stick to the time limit you promised, unless the other person is plainly okay with running long.

(3) Avoid (Topic) around the person who spoke up. No point in looking for loopholes there.

Good luck making peace with (Topic), so it's not always first in mind.

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