Author Topic: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?  (Read 3589 times)

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Shabooty

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Re: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2013, 12:05:09 PM »
KimodoDragon, I think we may work in the same place.  I have a coworker who does the same thing!  For example:

CW:  Do you want a green thingy or a blue thingy?
Me:  Blue, thank you.
CW:  Oh, okay because I wasn't sure if you'd want green or blue.
ME:  .........
CW:  huffs off and starts slamming things

She wanted to talk just to talk and it was insufferable.  I had to train myself to not continue the conversation which was hard because it feels so rude.  I got very good at it, though, and now she avoids me.  Score!

KimodoDragon

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Re: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2013, 02:28:37 PM »
KimodoDragon, I think we may work in the same place.  I have a coworker who does the same thing!  For example:

CW:  Do you want a green thingy or a blue thingy?
Me:  Blue, thank you.
CW:  Oh, okay because I wasn't sure if you'd want green or blue.
ME:  .........
CW:  huffs off and starts slamming things

She wanted to talk just to talk and it was insufferable.  I had to train myself to not continue the conversation which was hard because it feels so rude.  I got very good at it, though, and now she avoids me.  Score!

It is tough sometimes because I don't want to seem rude, but I cannot do the prolonged conversations because it's the same words, just rearranged differently. 

And yes, Toots, I got the same feeling like she needs to walk around/be around people, but only to appear busy. 

EllenS

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Re: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2013, 03:36:48 PM »
I think if the conversation is done, and she is just lobbing sentences from her desk while you are obviously working, it is okay to go into "hmmm" mode.  Just a "hmm" or an "ah,"  head down, continuing to work.

Another tack, which works well for me, is to say chipperly, "Well, got to get back to it!" and then move or turn away.  But I have some physical distance to move away.

There is a kind of nonverbal "just a minute" posture/expression if you are in the middle of typing something - where you would keep your eyes on your screen, but your eyebrows go up and you kind of half-turn your face toward the person, with a verbal "uh-huh..."  That lets them know that you heard them, but you are doing something important.  then when you hit "enter" you can turn fully and say, "what did you need?"

I think brief, brisk verbal and non-verbals may help you. "Yep" "Nope" and I like the suggestion of "Gotcha."  It is rude not to acknowledge someone at all, but you don't have to fall into her time-suck just because she wants to.
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SoCalVal

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Re: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2013, 01:06:50 AM »
Okay, I had to do it!

A few minutes ago, Helen came to my desk asking if I had ordered any supplies lately.   I was typing an entry into my Executive's calendar and she just starts in.  I didnt turn around to address her face to face, I just said no, I hadn't ordered any, I am well-stocked at the moment. I continue typing and then she is standing there and does the wait thing and says, "yeah I know there are some things that need replacing in the supply closet, I'll order those  today".

I then turned around, looked at her and said, "Okay, welll I don't need anything.  Gotta finish this meeting invite."

She waited a few seconds and walked away.    Now she is slamming reams of paper on her desk.

I don't think I was rude.  Was I?

You *did* turn around to face her -- not immediately, but at an acceptable point in your exchange so, no, you were not rude.  I think you were fine.

I, also, more often than not, have difficulty cutting short people who have a tendency to talk FOREVER, which can be a huge problem at work.  These days, with most people, I either go spineless and just keep praying silently that something will happen to make the person go away or, if I am in the middle of a deadline, like I was earlier this week, I will acknowledge the person with a glance and also speak to the person, but I will continue to focus my attention on my task and keep working.  That works often.  With one coworker, depending upon time of day and what I am working on, I won't engage in conversation with her.  She will never shut up, and there's never a pause in the conversation to end it gracefully because she will often segue into a new topic without even stopping for breath.  I stopped engaging in non-work conversation with her after she wouldn't stop talking and DH ended up having to come to my office to find me because I never came out to meet him when he was picking me up from work.  I couldn't figure out how to get away from her easily (and I'm pretty sure I had already said I was waiting for my then-fiance to pick me up).



TootsNYC

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Re: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2013, 10:51:50 AM »
SoCalVal, in a case like that, I want to encourage you to simply interrupt and say, "I can't talk any more, I have to [xxxx]," and just go do it. Even if it means you walk out of the office while she's still talking.

Here's the thing: Even if it's not conscious, a person like that is doing this on purpose. They are manipulating you (even if it's instinctual, and not carefully thought out).
    They know the "rules" about not interrupting, etc., and they are taking full advantage of them to cling to the audience that they need.
    It's a compulsion--I have some sympathy for them. But that doesn't extend to thinking that they ought to be getting their way.

So not only are they being rude, but there is a part of them, buried however deep or shallow, that knows this.

You know what? They probably don't feel good about themselves afterward anyway. Few people with such powerful compulsions -do- feel good after indulging in them.

So, just say, with a friendly tone of voice, "I can't talk anymore, I have to finish this work/go home." And then go live that boundary instead of trying to negotiate it. Make your actions carry your message: "I'm not listening to you anymore, you can stop talking now."

bopper

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Re: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2013, 07:03:01 PM »
There is always the ever-handy "Shoot! I forgot a conference call!  Excuse me" <and start dialing the phone even if you don't talk to anyone>

Zizi-K

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Re: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2013, 12:54:21 PM »
Okay, I had to do it!

A few minutes ago, Helen came to my desk asking if I had ordered any supplies lately.   I was typing an entry into my Executive's calendar and she just starts in.  I didnt turn around to address her face to face, I just said no, I hadn't ordered any, I am well-stocked at the moment. I continue typing and then she is standing there and does the wait thing and says, "yeah I know there are some things that need replacing in the supply closet, I'll order those  today".

I then turned around, looked at her and said, "Okay, welll I don't need anything.  Gotta finish this meeting invite."

She waited a few seconds and walked away.    Now she is slamming reams of paper on her desk.

I don't think I was rude.  Was I?

You *did* turn around to face her -- not immediately, but at an acceptable point in your exchange so, no, you were not rude.  I think you were fine.

I, also, more often than not, have difficulty cutting short people who have a tendency to talk FOREVER, which can be a huge problem at work.  These days, with most people, I either go spineless and just keep praying silently that something will happen to make the person go away or, if I am in the middle of a deadline, like I was earlier this week, I will acknowledge the person with a glance and also speak to the person, but I will continue to focus my attention on my task and keep working.  That works often.  With one coworker, depending upon time of day and what I am working on, I won't engage in conversation with her.  She will never shut up, and there's never a pause in the conversation to end it gracefully because she will often segue into a new topic without even stopping for breath.  I stopped engaging in non-work conversation with her after she wouldn't stop talking and DH ended up having to come to my office to find me because I never came out to meet him when he was picking me up from work.  I couldn't figure out how to get away from her easily (and I'm pretty sure I had already said I was waiting for my then-fiance to pick me up).

In this particular situation, I would physically raise my hands into a stop position and just talk over her. "I'm sorry to interrupt you, but my fiance is waiting for me outside and I have to leave. See you tomorrow." Then just walk away. CW is being extremely rude monopolizing you like that!

Regarding the OP's CW: I think all of the advice has been very good. I wanted to add a bit of sympathy for the coworker. It has to be very uncomfortable and anxiety-producing to be the only one with nothing to do in an office full of busy people. Perhaps she needs to be more proactive about getting on a project, or perhaps they are about to let her go. Perhaps she needs to be more creative about "finding/making useful work" - if she can channel her time into something the company didn't even know that they needed, like a client database, a newsletter, a new web feature, etc, that could go a long way to making her look good while she has this downtime. The focus on supplies isn't doing anyone any favors. Would the OP feel comfortable making this kind of suggestion to the CW?

edgypeanuts

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Re: Prolonged Dialogue - How To "Finish" It?
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2013, 04:12:03 PM »
Okay, I had to do it!

A few minutes ago, Helen came to my desk asking if I had ordered any supplies lately.   I was typing an entry into my Executive's calendar and she just starts in.  I didnt turn around to address her face to face, I just said no, I hadn't ordered any, I am well-stocked at the moment. I continue typing and then she is standing there and does the wait thing and says, "yeah I know there are some things that need replacing in the supply closet, I'll order those  today".

I then turned around, looked at her and said, "Okay, welll I don't need anything.  Gotta finish this meeting invite."

She waited a few seconds and walked away.    Now she is slamming reams of paper on her desk.

I don't think I was rude.  Was I?

You were much nicer than I.  I have a talker who fills in as my receptionist occasionally.  I do not turn around, and tell her that I need to get this done while it is all still in my head.  When she is talking to other people I put on large sound blockers (like big old time headphones) that my husband uses with his chainsaw. 
I suppose it is rude (although I don't actually put them on when she is talking to me)  but I found that when she works with me, I end up staying hours late to get done what I couldn't while she was talking and interrupting me. 

I have explained to her that it is nothing personal, and if I had the time I'd like to talk to her, but I have to get things done.  She is hourly so she leaves on time regardless of how much she talks, whereas I am salaried and cannot leave til all is done.  I also worry about my decision making skills when I cannot think through any problems without being interrupted.   

Maybe it is a bit rude to not turn around, but this is not a social interaction but a business one.