“Question . . . tonight I hosted a going away party for long time friends. I enjoyed an exchange of ideas with an extremely intelligent man. I’ve known him for about 20 years. He dismissed my viewpoint then went into a monologue about . . . . . . . . . I could have easily disappeared and he may not have noticed. It felt like his main intention was to show me how smart he is. He showed no interest in me, didn’t “check in” to see if I was still ‘along for the conversational ride’ and when my spouse interrupted to let me know someone was looking for me I was relieved.
I’m a connector by nature and I’m genuinely interested in people. How do you bow out of a one-sided monologue without being disrespectful?”
If this has ever run through your head – in part or wholly – you’re in plentiful company.
First, keep hosting. The exchange happened between two people. Never mistake one insensitive guest as indicative of a whole group.
Next, intelligence can be a handicap. Plus it’s relative, as illustrated here.
How we are all smart is different and how we all converse and connect is different too. Sadly, we all trot out our credentials once in a while. And for everyone but ourselves…. it’s a yawn. What people care about if who you are, now what you do, the degrees you’ve earned, trips you’ve been on or awards you’ve won.
Talk about others, in a personal curious and non-invasive, fashion and you’ll be the talk of the party.
Next, when someone gets into a one-way monologue, start using a few visual cues to stop them (yes, really). One tactic I employ is to literally hold me hands up in a “T”, as in time-out. I also raise my hand – straight up. Both of these physical moves usually stop a monologuer.
If they don’t take a cue from this former radio host and simply interrupt them. Yes, interrupt. If they’re hogging and you’re feeling imposed upon, then it’s up to you to move on. And I’d discourage apologizing in any way too. Try this: “Gosh, thanks for sharing – I’m going to excuse myself now.” Then do. It may feel abrupt, yet the minutes and hours of your life are yours to manage how you wish. if you are willing to let a non-listener, non-connector steal them from you, that’s on you.
I love that the spouse had this persons back (assuming as much, since I knew them to be a good person).
Big lesson here too: never dismiss someone’s opinion, vantage point, experience or viewpoint. That’s just plain rude.
Another front-end tactic for attending a gathering is this: if you go with someone else, develop a signal and help watch out for each other. Making the signal to the other let’s them know you need their help, and they’ll quickly be on their way.
As always, keep connecting. Don’t let one instance slow you down, turn you off or impede new attempts. The only way we find great connections is by making that First Move, one person at a time.
You’ll find your people that way, make positive impressions and live the Connector’s life.
Got a challenge or connecting question for me?
Send it to me via firstname.lastname@example.org ~ I’ll read, reply and share with others (keeping your private info safe). Questions like these serve us all. Thanks.