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2 Bumps

Advice needed on dealing w/ a conversation dominator...

So, I have this cousin, whom I love very much. She is generous and funny. I enjoy being around her, except that she is always dominating the conversation--well, about 98% of the time. We talk on the phone and I'll try to tell her how my life is going and she interrupts with her life and all the problems she has. However, when I talk about what my kids are up to, she listens for about the same amount of time, then tells how fabulously her kids are doing in school....
I really want to be close to her, but it is hard dealing with her wanting to talk about only her life the bulk of the time. I've even tried being like her during these talks in an effort to hint how she is or to see if maybe she prefers that one-sidedness, but I end up feeling too selfish or she ends up whipping it back to her. It makes me feel like I'm unworthy of her listening to me. What would you do if you were in this situation?

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Chocolatespring

Asked by Chocolatespring at 1:52 AM on Nov. 21, 2010 in Relationships

Level 19 (6,695 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • I'm not sure, soo here's a bump for you :-)
    blessedwithree

    Answer by blessedwithree at 1:54 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • My sister is the same way. I love her, but she always turns the conversation over to herself and her children. It is so funny - she will call and ask me, "What's up?" and spend the next hour chattering in my ear about what is up with her. I try to steer the conversation to something other than what she is discussing, but she always steers it back to her own agenda. She does this with our older sister and even with our parents too. Most of the time, I just let her go on, but when I need to say something, I just stop her and say, "Okay, honey, let me talk for a minute." When she gets revved back up, I gently tell her that I am not finished and ask her to wait until I have finished saying what I have to say. It works pretty well. When she is really wound up, I just set the phone down, throw a load of laundry in the machine, come back, and say, "uh huh" then go and do something else that doesn't take too long.
    neebug3766

    Answer by neebug3766 at 1:58 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • I have a cousin who is exactly the same. She has been like this her entire life. She always had a nickname that everyone called her (even the teachers) that described this. She now refuses to be called this. That is who she is. It might be a a learning disability. We love her and accept her for who she is. It does not diminish you. It is the way her brain works. She is probably not able to stop it.
    It really bothers me that because she does not listen she will make assumptions that I feel are incorrect. I love her and I know she loves and cares about me. This is just the way she is.
    tootoobusy

    Answer by tootoobusy at 2:01 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • I have actually fallen asleep during one of her marathon chats about herself and woke to her yelling at me to wake up. lol - it was hilarious! I think she has some sort of personality disorder that causes her to need to talk for hours on end about her own life. I would never hurt her feelings and suggest that she see a therapist about it, but I often think that she should. On the days that I just cannot handle listening to her, I tell her that I have an appointment or have to pick up my daughter just to get off the phone. I feel badly about it, but sometimes it is the only way I can keep my cool and not just say, "Would you please shut up and let me talk?"
    neebug3766

    Answer by neebug3766 at 2:03 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • So, do you guys find that you talk to her less? Like maybe, if you need support, you will hesitate to call her because she won't get that it's important to you?

    Neebug3766, that is hilarious! LMBO!
    Chocolatespring

    Comment by Chocolatespring (original poster) at 2:08 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • Interesting, I have a male cousin like this. He is very loud and he has a huge ego. He and will do great in a conversation that he is dominating, but he can not listen to anyone for more than a minute. He married the nicest, quietest girl!
    spottedpony

    Answer by spottedpony at 2:39 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • i was always told to be quiet in growing up, so when I talk now, it's like I'm catching up with the old me that didn't talk at all. My mom knows it's this way, but I'll always ask how she is every time first, and let her talk. We know that. Once someone says something to me though I'll always be happy to listen, or if I'm not I hope they will just say, call again... and we'll get more time to discuss "each others' lives", and just be up front about having time to talk, it's really not that hard to just say ...."I'd like for you to ~~hear me tell you what I've been like , then do the conversation . Plus I've learned to dominate the husband, due to my overbearing dad.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:59 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • give her a taste of what shes doing to you..
    Kittty_Katt

    Answer by Kittty_Katt at 5:15 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • a lot of people who do this dont really realize what they are doing. it might cause her some embarasment but you should tell her the difficulty she is making it to talk to her and that you feel the conversations very one sided/and you are not being listened to. wether that is her intent or not. be gentle but she will likely be a bit upset or embarased about it at first. but a real friend and family member will realize you are just reaching out and trying to help not hurt.
    katiPeas

    Answer by katiPeas at 6:34 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

  • I have to admit that I have done this before. I am wierd in the respect that I can be rather quiet but once I have someone who I feel completely comfortable with, I can gab on for hours. I started to realize it a few times when I was talking to coworkers and they just stopped talking all together and wasn't really listening to me. I wondered why they weren't talking anymore and it occured to me that they hadn't had time to say much. I've made an effort to listen and ask questions more. With your cousin I suggest that when she goes on and on just stop talking. Act uninterested in the conversation. Do it several times. She might ask you what is up. If she does, you have the chance to tell her. if she doesn't catch on, them tell her. You might do her a huge favor by pointing this out to her!
    bjane01

    Answer by bjane01 at 7:58 AM on Nov. 21, 2010

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