Sometimes it’s worth it to make your friend shut up. While this may be rude, cutting off a conversation altogether can reconcile your conflicting mind.
Suppose your friend is being aggressive, rude, getting into your head, and persistently pushing your buttons. There are some working strategies to get them to stop talking almost immediately.
How to make your friend shut up
Do the following to shut up a friend without hurting them:
Exhibit signs that you’re not interested
You want to use non-committal body language even before your friend starts the conversation. This may seem quite impolite, but simply avoiding eye contact, enabling your headphones, or facing another direction can signal for them to shut up.
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You could keep focusing on whatever activity you had before they interrupted. Or just move around, get active, and involved in little chores instead of listening to them.
Try to interrupt your friend by saying something like:
I would like to add something.
If I could interrupt you for just a moment.
People often talk quickly. Try leveraging a breath or a brief silence moment to cut off any one-sided flow of discussion. Let your friend know that you want to say something by opening your mouth, holding up your hands, or even opening your mouth. The point is to do anything that will shut off their thought for you to come in.
Don’t let them continue if they ask to finish what they are saying. Don’t also allow your friend to keep steamrolling the conversation, cut them as soon as they complete their sentence.
Take over the conversation
You want to take over the conversation, making sure the person knows that you paid attention to them. Now, steer the conversation in a different direction.
After sharing your thoughts, make it clear that you don’t have so much talking time. You could say things like:
Though I would love to talk, but I’m swamped at the moment.
Unfortunately, you can’t get my complete attention right now.
Today is really not great for talking.
You could use a generic excuse to make your friend shut up. Just say:
Sorry, I’m quite in a hurry.
We can catch up another time, okay?
If your friend constantly talks you over, you need to be more direct.
Claim to have a previous engagement
Blame your lack of time on a pressing engagement, including a scheduled appointment or phone call. Think of any earlier commitments that can help you to salvage the time from a friend you want to shut up.
You may then pass them off to another person. Just drag in another person in the conversation, introduce the topic to them, and politely excuse yourself once the two get the conversation going.
Listen with distraction
If your friend does not get the message that you want them to shut up, give them half attention without being fully engaged with them.
Try to give very little feedback, or one-word answers such as “okay”, “heard”, “yes”, and “no”, among others. You could be distractedly looking at your hands or desk while giving the answer.
If they are taking too long, don’t hesitate to excuse yourself by saying, “I’d like to keep listening but I have to finish up before today ends.” Try offering an apologetic smile as you say this. Suppose you were having chat via an app with a friend. Drop a smiley emoticon and dash off.
Protect your boundaries
Consider abruptly ending the conversation to respect and protect your boundaries. At this point, you can even politely tell the friend to shut up. If the person is generally nice and friendly, don’t say “shut up”.
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However, if you’re dealing with a generally offensive or aggressive friend who is taking too much of your time, stand your ground and politely tell them to shut up.
Your friendship does not end after the conversation, so don’t be afraid. A friend talking incessantly, even when you show signs of not being interested, simply does not respect your time. Shut them up to prevent them from reinforcing that behavior.
Try to be assertive and direct. Get to the point and avoid asking questions or inviting interpretation using mushy language. Don’t make a statement like, “Would you mind if I kept working?” instead, say, “I’m returning to work now.” Make eye contact and raise your voice while saying this. Keep your tone level and steady.
Let your friend know they crossed a line
If your friend gets offensive, let them know that they have crossed a line and need to shut up. When your friend is being hurtful or crude, inform them that you would rather not talk about it and wish them a nice day.
Don’t engage a loud friend to avoid making them get louder and angrier. Just say:
That’s enough. I won’t tolerate that sort of language.
Make sure to ignore any further comments. Know your line between harassment and conversation— and ask for help if you feel threatened by a friend.
End the conversation
Disclose that the conversation is over. If your friend keeps talking, tell them you need to leave and walk away. Be confident and polite, and avoid lingering even if they may have a final point. Don’t feel bad about ending a conversation—it is worth it after all, and doesn’t end your friendship.
You can end it on a good note by saying:
It was my pleasure talking to you. I am going now.
If the conversation was interesting but you needed to go since you don’t have the time, try to show that you would like to keep in touch. You could say:
I have enjoyed talking with you and would love to continue this conversation another time. Would you be open to lunch sometime?
If you’ve been seeing this friend often, listen to them for a reasonable amount of time. Actively listening to your friend will help you to focus on understanding them and also improves your relationships by reducing conflict, promoting trust, and increasing your ability to motivate and inspire them. You will also potentially know why your friend is talking so much.
Limit the conversation time
You could set a time limit on the conversation. If your friend is a known talker, you may have a hard time shutting them up. However, you need to be clear that you have somewhere to be.
It’s great to see you, but I only have a few minutes to talk.
Suppose the friend is a colleague at work or school. Let them know that you have an upcoming deadline and trying to focus on your work.
Just acknowledge their presence and say:
Great to see you, but I have only have a minute to talk.
Good luck shutting up that friend.
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