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Response to "Silencing the longtalkers"

Posted by Robin Abrahams  March 23, 2012 01:10 PM

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It's been an awfully quiet week at the blog, with not a whole lot of comments in response to Monday's question about interrupting longtalkers. katemc made me laugh out loud with this first comment: "where is everyone? taking a pause of a few seconds to make sure the LW has finished her thought?" ... and had a nifty engineering tip to share: 

I once heard a great tip for when you are at work--if you have a problem with people coming into your office and stopping for longwinded updates, make sure they don't have a place to sit. If you have an extra chair in your office, keep a big tippy pile of files on it. You can move it if you need (or want) to but it will keep the drop-ins much shorter if people can't get comfortable and have to stay on their feet. 

And Ursulagirl had a unique solution: 

My favorite technique with the folks who won't listen and or stop talking is to try to get them to look me in the eye and then I say something completely off topic. "My cats hate wet food." My daughter is so cute." "Did you see those stars last night?" Generally it knocks the topic off them and back into the mundane. Then I wrap it up and hoof it. 

I have got to try that sometime. Like the rest of you who commented, I will make a physical escape when I have to. In fact, I've found it best with repeat offenders to simply be in motion when they see me, and never stop moving. 

I've never had a longtalker take offense at being physically escaped or loudly interrupted, have you? I expect they're used to it. 

Have a lovely weekend!
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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