Author Topic: Stop Talking About Your Kid  (Read 4716 times)

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YellowSub

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Stop Talking About Your Kid
« on: October 19, 2012, 12:06:04 AM »
I signed up to deliver meals to a close family friend who is very ill. When I stopped by, another friend was there reading them a book (as they are currently bedridden) and a person who I hadn't met before was doing some of the laundry/light housekeeping.

Ill friend had dozed off and we were all chatting a bit. Book Friend seemed to know Housekeeping Lady pretty well, and introduced us. Housekeeping Lady immediately began telling me about her son, who attends a local state school. Housekeeping Lady literally went on for almost an hour about how amazing her son is, that he gets good grades, is involved with the university paper, etc. etc. I felt very overwhelmed with the unnecessary information and also bored. He sounded like a nice kid but she was treating him being involved with normal college activities as though he had cured cancer.

I also wanted to ask Book Friend how Ill Friend was doing but Housekeeping lady totally dominated the conversation. I've never even met her son yet I know more about him than some of my own family members!

Apparently they will both be there in a few days when I drop off food again. Is there ever a nice way to say "Can we talk about something besides your kid?"

She is volunteering to clean a sick person's house so I know overall she must be a good egg and I would hate to offend her.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 12:20:32 AM »
Keep bean dipping and don't stop no matter how many times she tries to redirect the conversation back to her son.

"He even goes to class everyday!"
"That's wonderful.  Book Friend, how is Ill friend?"
"He called me yesterday to tell me about his new professor."
"I bet that was an interesting conversation.  How do you and Book Friend know each other?"
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TootsNYC

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2012, 12:21:50 AM »
Feel free to say, "excuse me, I hate to interrupt, but I wanted to ask Book Friend about something specific. Book Friend, may I ask you XYZ?"

Also, feel free to excuse yourself and go in the kitchen to wash your hands, or whatever.

sweetonsno

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2012, 12:55:36 AM »
Well, keep in mind that it could be pretty huge that he's engaging in normal college activities. He might be the first person in his family to ever go to college. He might have had to overcome some serious problems (physical, mental, psychological, personal, financial, etc) in order to go to college. Basically, while his activities might seem pretty normal to you, they could seem crazy impressive to her. (I know people who are just the opposite, too. They really have no clue why I'm so impressed that they ran a mile in five minutes, because it's just something that they can do.)

Anyway, that's a bit of an aside. The problem is that someone is monopolizing the conversation and talking about something that doesn't especially interest you. I vote for giving her a few minutes to talk about it (listen actively), then changing the subject to something broader but still sort of related.

"My son joined the Ultimate Frisbee team!"
"Cool! I remember playing that when I was in college. Have you ever played it?"

"My son is rushing for a fraternity!"
"It sounds like he's really diving into the college experience. Were you ever in a sorority? I know very little about Greek life."

"My son went to class today!"
"Well, that's what he's there for, isn't it? Did you know you can take free college courses online now?"

Etc.

GrammarNerd

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 08:46:11 AM »
Is there a possibility of calling book friend before you go over there and ask what's up with HL?  Say that she seemed to know HL pretty well, and you hate to say it, but you were really uncomfortable with the way HL kept talking and talking about someone you didn't even know, and you'd just met her!  You couldn't even pause to ask HL about sick friend.  Ask her if she has any tips for how to handle it if she does that again.  If she doesn't, you could ask her if she could 'rescue' you somehow.

And as a last resort, if you have a cell phone, could you set a couple of alarms on your phone right before you go inside, and then when the alarms go off, you can pretend they're incoming phone calls instead and leave the room to 'talk'?  Natural break.  Then if you still need to stay there, sternly direct the conversation to something else or just ignore her and talk to sick friend or book friend.

PennyandPleased

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 08:57:36 AM »
She might have a bit of social anxiety and this is how she deals with it - rambling on and on about something she feels she knows a lot about. Either way, I agree it is annoying.

Since she seems soooo wrapped up with talking about her son and oblivious to the fact that she is being excessive then she probably won't be offended by you nicely interupting her to change the conversation and to talk to Book Friend.

Keep bean dipping and don't stop no matter how many times she tries to redirect the conversation back to her son.

"He even goes to class everyday!"
"That's wonderful.  Book Friend, how is Ill friend?"
"He called me yesterday to tell me about his new professor."
"I bet that was an interesting conversation.  How do you and Book Friend know each other?"

grannyclampettjr

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 10:29:30 AM »
Is there a possibility of calling book friend before you go over there and ask what's up with HL?  Say that she seemed to know HL pretty well, and you hate to say it, but you were really uncomfortable with the way HL kept talking and talking about someone you didn't even know, and you'd just met her!  You couldn't even pause to ask HL about sick friend.  Ask her if she has any tips for how to handle it if she does that again.  If she doesn't, you could ask her if she could 'rescue' you somehow.

And as a last resort, if you have a cell phone, could you set a couple of alarms on your phone right before you go inside, and then when the alarms go off, you can pretend they're incoming phone calls instead and leave the room to 'talk'?  Natural break.  Then if you still need to stay there, sternly direct the conversation to something else or just ignore her and talk to sick friend or book friend.

I agree with this.  A simple "hey, do you want to create a code word in case you need to be rescued from an irritating person" convo will tell you whether or not she was enjoying the conversation. 

LilacRosey

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2012, 02:16:19 AM »
If she's ill I would be very careful.Good Luck, this sounds like a hard situation., lilacrosey

cookiehappy

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2012, 11:37:29 AM »
The talker is not the ill person.  Talker is there to clean the ill person's home.

Nannerdoman

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Re: Stop Talking About Your Kid
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2012, 12:50:20 AM »
Is it possible that being in the presence of someone who's severely ill is making Housekeeping Lady nervous? A lot of people chatter when they're nervous, and her son's college experience is obviously much on HL's mind. Maybe it's a (very annoying) coping mechanism?
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