My girlfriend interrupts me all the time. When I’m working, she will walk into the room and just start talking to me. And then gets really upset that I’m not listening to her. When we’re having a conversation, she tries to finish my sentences, like she knows what I’m thinking. When we’re on a Zoom call with our families, I can’t get a word in. And if I do, it comes across really pushy and I feel embarrassed. We have been together a long time, and it never used to bother me. But lately it’s driving me crazy. What should I do?
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Dear Silent One,
This is a tough one. And I really hate tough questions. I like questions that are no-brainers or maybe ones that can elicit a smart aleck response from me, and I always like the ones that crack me up. There are advice folks out there who think they’re so smart that they can answer tough questions. I’m just a regular person, and frankly, your girlfriend’s behavior sounds really annoying to me. But heck, I’ll give it a shot.
Tell the chatterbox that you need to talk. Oh, maybe use a “talking stick”. You know, whoever is holding the stick has the floor. And no, you don’t really need a stick – it’s symbolic. You could even hold the cat. Or a bag of rice.
When you finally have the stick, explain your beef. Practice beforehand so you don’t get sidetracked by any other annoyances. This is not the time to discuss who ate the last tiny Snickers bar from Halloween.
Stick to the point, present the problem, suggest a solution that would make you happier. Use “I” statements (taken directly from the Psych 100 textbook I found on the office bookshelf) not “you” statements. We don’t usually talk like this, that’s why you need to practice. There’s a good chance she doesn’t know this is driving you crazy, so be nice.
Edda is not a medical professional but a local lady who loves to give out advice, even when it's not asked of her. Submit your question to [email protected] for Edda to answer.