Motor mouths. Babblers. Jabber Jaws. Gossipmongers. Chatterboxes.
Whatever you call them, they're a rare combination of pointless information and undying persistence. And, like a vortex, they feel impossible to elude.
But lucky for us, Reddit was on the case recently.
A bunch of people on the site shared the most expedient ways to *politely* get a very talkative person to shut their traps, finally.
First came the schemes. These Redditors were masters of subtlety. They have no interest confronting the blabbermouth directly.
Instead, they pull the strings in just the right way to get the heck out of there.
The Window You Needed
"In person: drop something. As you bend down to pick it up change the topic or use an exit line. The drop should cause the talkative person to momentarily lose their momentum allowing you to make the transition."
The Old Bait and Switch
"Kind of selfish, but drag another person into the conversation, then sneak away. I've had to do this before, and it works pretty much every time." -- MrAlek360
"My husband does this to me with his mom when she's drunk. Jerk. 😂" -- MrsEyepo
Flipping It Upside Down
"On the phone I say 'Hey, I'm going to let you go now.' " -- thandiwe0429
"Tell them you're going to go do something essential helps, like taking a sh!t or returning video tapes" -- BoysenberryPrize856
"My old boss was this way. I freaking love her but I always tell people that if you are going to talk to her, make sure you have an exit strategy. If that is a meeting in 15 minutes or that you have to help someone else ... ANYTHING ... But she will talk to you for 90 minutes easy"
The Older You Are, the More Acceptable This One Is
"Do it the British way. Slap your thigh and loudly proclaim 'well must be going' then just walk away." -- Key_Barber_4161
"In my family, we do the thigh slap, followed by a loud and meaningless, '...Welp!' and then an abrupt exit." -- erinberrypie
"My grandpa was known for doing similar, but saying instead "it must be getting past your bedtime" when they were over visiting at his house as a semi polite way of saying get out." -- Cerulean_Shades
Others were fully willing to confront the situation directly. Sometimes a little honesty goes a very long way, even if it does make for an awkward couple seconds.
Take Your Pick
"My sister is like this sometimes, so I'll say, 'I want to give you my full attention, but right now I'm watching something/feeling tired/need to go and plan dinner, etc. Can you hold that thought until later?' "
"At work I use the same tactic, like, 'I'm in the middle of something (even if you're not pretend you are), can this wait or is this critical for right now?' "
"Another tactic I use is to let them know right away how much time they have: 'Before you start, I need to use the bathroom/make a phone call/check an email. I can give you three minutes, or we can talk later.' "
"Nine times out of ten the person will back down. When you are feeling ready to talk again, make sure you thank them and let them know you're ready."
No More Space In There
"I tell my kids 'my ears are tired' " -- m3u2r9
"I do this too! Or more often 'My ears are full.' Started when my kid was little and still use it with a middle school ager who talks all.the.time." -- Foreignfig
A Bit Brusk, But Efficient
"I had a talker as a roommate in college. 'Look. I know you're excited about being away from home for the first time, but I have an 8 o'clock class, and I need to go to sleep. Good night.' Didn't work. Repeated in various ways several times. I finally said, 'Shut up.' Roommate got all huffy."
" 'Fine. Be huffy. Just be quiet about it.' "
Missing the Cues
"If someone is overly talkative to the point where you find this is a problem, they are usually aware of it. In my experience the best bet is to just be blunt about it. If you need to leave or do something say so, if they are irritating or you can't keep up with the conversation just say so."
"Frankly it's more rude of THEM to not be aware of your body language and disinterest or not considering your time."
Worth Ruffling Some Feathers
"Interrupt them and tell them that they are kind of overwhelming you, Apologize for being rude but just be real. Usually people who talk a lot are pretty aware that they talk a lot and shouldn't be too offended by you just being honest but in a nice, more friendly tone."
"I'm a quiet person and I will always speak up if somebody is driving me fu**ing crazy. It's worth it."
Short, Sweet, To the Point
"Former neighbour was nice enough but wanted to chat all the time. If I was carrying something, I'd say I should really get this food in the fridge. Or - nice chatting but I really have to go and get back to work."
"There was this girl I had to help train at my last job. She had no concept of personal space. I often had to tell her that I really had to get back to work and couldn't sit and chat all day."
Know Your Audience
"On the phone: 'Listen, I'm gonna let you go because I need to—' get to the store/pharmacy, start dinner, get to work. Anything."
"With a stranger: 'Don't take it personally but I came here to be alone' or 'I don't want to talk right now.' Anyone who doesn't know you and can't respect the fundamental human need for solitude can take a hike."
"To a trusted loved one: 'I need to be alone in my own head now' "
"The hardest one is with a friend or coworker, in my opinion. But I think saying 'don't take this the wrong way, but I can't talk right now' "
"My personal favorite in general: 'Let's play the quiet game, first person who speaks loses.' Works great with little ones 😂"
Some people had some fun with the prompt.
These folks decided to imagine the most absurd possible way they could end a conversation with an extremely talkative person. These ideas may depart from the polite priority, but they're hilarious to imagine.
"Make your face appear worried and pretend that your hand is moving beyond your control, then politely pinch their lips together with your thumb and index finger." -- sosogos
"I have reached out and just pushed their lower jaw up gently. They get so surprised they do shut up for at least a few moments." -- Nomikos
Scramble Their Brains
"I don't think it's 'nice' as in 'polite,' but you can ask them why they're so quiet and just run away when they shut up for a few seconds out of confusion" -- maciej_telecaster
"That's not confusion. They are processing the sting." -- ADDeviant-again
"You've got more story than I've got time. Let's continue this later." -- Bandeth
"I actually really like this as a talker - it isn't mean, to my ears." -- cfo6
"Haha, OP said nice way, that's brutal" -- Mithrandir_The_Gray
Laughing It Off
"You're at an 11, I'm gonna need you at like a 3....max" -- Felonious_Zookeeper
"I actual use this one and it's pretty effective. In the right context, it can even be a little funny." -- CaigeSpade
So there you have it: a full list of helpful tips for the next time you found yourself trapped in an eternal, one-sided conversation.