This is a common problem and can be one of the most draining conversations you can have. It’s not that your friend doesn’t care about what’s going on in your life but rather she always has something interesting to say, or she might be worried about what’s going on in her life.
This is the question I asked myself when I noticed my friend had a habit of constantly talking about herself. It was getting to be annoying how much she talked about her own life and accomplishments. I tried dropping back with some witty remarks but they seemed to fall on deaf ears; she just kept talking at me! So what should I do?
This article will provide tips on how you can tackle this difficult conversation if you find yourself in a similar situation.
1) Don’t Be Quiet
If your friend is constantly talking about herself and you don’t want to talk about yourself, you might feel that you need to calm down. But don’t be afraid to speak up when you have something of value to say or a more interesting topic to bring up.
It can be difficult but try not to sit on your hands while she speaks. Even if you can’t think of anything to say, try commenting on what she has said. For example, if she talks about a drama that happened at work, you could say “Oh yeah, I had a problem with office politics at my old job.”
It might be even easier to jump on the bandwagon. If your friend is talking about a trip she took with her family to Italy and you were also in Italy last summer, agree with her points and talk about your trip as well. “Oh, I was in Rome last summer. We had a great time.”
It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about yourself and your own life and experiences from time to time. Without a little back and forth, conversations can grow stale quickly.
2) Don’t Judge
The worst thing you can do in this situation is to call your friend weird or a narcissist or whatever other name you can think of that you think applies. You must try to adopt a nonjudgmental tone and tell her that there’s nothing wrong with talking about herself; it’s just how she says it.
Guilt can be a huge problem in situations like this, especially if you think your friend doesn’t see anything wrong with how she talks about herself. Ignoring the situation or constantly voicing your displeasure will only make things worse.
Remember that people are unlikely to change if they’re not made aware of what they’re doing wrong. If you want to bring up the topic of your friend always talking about herself, it will be helpful to do so in a constructive way instead of aggressively attacking her for what she says.
When you’re talking to your friend, make sure you don’t judge her for how she talks about herself or reprimand her for not showing you enough respect. Treat it as a problem and try to find some common ground so that the conversation can flow productively.
3) Acknowledge Her Jokes
Pay attention and acknowledge the jokes your friend tells. If she makes a joke that isn’t funny, just roll your eyes and chuckle. If she’s making a funny joke, laugh as much as you can.
It might feel silly but taking the time to listen to her jokes helps convey your interest in her well-being by showing you’re familiar with what she is saying. In turn, this will make your friend feel more comfortable talking about herself because you are interested in what she says.
You might be tempted to laugh along with her jokes even if you don’t find them funny. If this happens, try to keep in mind that she does want you to laugh. If you find her story or joke amusing, make sure to let her know. “Oh, that’s pretty funny. I had a similar experience.”
4) Listen to her thoughts and feelings
No one likes to be listened to like a therapist. The first thing you need to do is listen actively so that she doesn’t feel as though you are judging or criticizing her.
When she’s done, reflect on what you heard and acknowledge that you heard her correctly. If you listen actively, she’ll be more likely to engage in a conversation about herself. This will help her feel good about herself and also show that she doesn’t have to do all the talking.
There are several ways you can listen actively.
You can say, “Hmm, I see! So you went to Paris.” This is a good way to get her to keep talking because she will feel like you are listening.
“Wow, that must have been scary. It’s great that you took a risk and went to Paris.”Here, you repeat her thoughts and feelings back to her.
“What I’m hearing is…” This lets her know that you want to understand what she is saying rather than just jumping in and responding with your own opinions or thoughts.
“I can see that you are proud of yourself. I’m glad for you.” This is a proactive response because rather than waiting for her to begin the conversation, you’ve begun it yourself.
d) Asking open-ended questions
“Tell me more about your trip to Paris.” This allows her to keep talking.
It’s important that you respond with interest and not with anger or annoyance, which could cause her to clam up. You want to remind her that you’re a good friend and that she has nothing to worry about. She’ll then be more open about herself.
5) Respect her boundaries
If you’re still getting nowhere despite being actively engaged in conversation, it’s probably time to move on to another topic. Don’t push for her to continue talking because you might end up upsetting her.
The best way to approach this is by making a simple statement. “You’re right. I don’t know much about your life so I should probably let you continue to tell me more about yourself.”
You can also state that there’s plenty of time for her to keep talking. Also, if she wants to talk, let her talk.
You can even say, “You’re probably going to want to talk about this some more later, so I’m going to let you continue. Did you have a good day at work?”
7) See if she has any underlying issues
The only way to know if she has an issue is to look at the reasons she keeps talking about herself. What are they? Do you have any personal friends that do the same thing? If not, they probably reflect her personality. Perhaps they talk about themselves but don’t tend to actively engage in the conversation.
You can’t change the way she is wired. What you can do is use your communication skills to reach out to her in a non-confrontational way.
So how do we do this?
Instead of trying to be super assertive, make statements that show interest and concern about her needs and wants.
For example, instead of asking her why she talks so much about herself, you could say something like “It’s great that you’re sharing so much about your life. I’m so glad we’ve become such good friends.” This will show her that you are a good listener.
It’s also important to give her feedback about what she can do to help herself. You could say, “It’s great that you share so much about your life but it’s hard for me to keep up with everything.” Let her know that it’s okay if she wants to talk about herself, but maybe it would be a good idea if she slowed down a bit and asked you questions as well.
The good news is that now that you’re aware of the problem, you can take steps to resolve it. It’s a difficult conversation but it doesn’t have to be harmful. As long as you do this tactfully without happening too many times, she’ll get the message and appreciate your effort.
She might even feel closer to you because she knows that you are listening and is trying to help her. As a result, she’ll be more likely to listen to you in the future.
8) Suggest that the conversation needs to move on
“I’m interested but we need to get going now.” This lets her know that you’re busy and that she needs to wrap it up.
Other ways to communicate this include, “I need to go now. What do you want to talk about?” Also, “It’s been fun talking about yourself, but I need to get going now. Can we continue this conversation later?”
Here is a list of some other things you could say.
- “Thanks for telling me all about yourself. I’m a little overwhelmed. I’m going to tell you about myself now.” This gives her an idea of what you would like to talk about.
- “It’s great that you’re sharing so much about yourself, but I need to ask you something before the conversation continues.” This shows her that she is your focus and that you want to spend time with her.
- “I’m interested in what you have to say but we don’t have time at the moment. Let’s talk about that at a later time.” This gives her the impression that you care about her and are trying to make time for your friendship.
- “It’s great that you’re sharing, but I have to say something. I care about what you have to say. Can we continue this conversation later?” This shows your interest in her and also that you care about her well-being.
- “I understand that you’re interested in talking about yourself, but I’d like to tell you something that might be more interesting.” This gives her an idea of what she can do to make the conversation more interesting for you.
9) Let her know what you need
This can be done by giving her examples. For example, “I want to share about myself too but it’s hard because the conversation cuts me off before I can say what I want to say.”
You might also ask her for suggestions on how she can help herself. She’ll be able to give you examples of when she’s good at listening or when it takes her a while before she says something.
The goal here is for you two to find a balance that works for both of you so that neither of you feels offended, hurt, or taken advantage of.
10) If she just doesn’t stop talking
If you’ve done all of the steps above and it still doesn’t seem to be working, then you should consider either talking to her about it or just letting it go.
Let’s say you’ve been friends for a while and she’s been doing this for years. It could be that she has an issue with listening that stems from something else, so there is no point in confronting her since there is no way to have a constructive conversation about this.
It’s not worth your time to waste both of your time in an argument about this. On the other hand, if you’ve been friends for a while and she just started this behavior, then there may be other underlying issues going on. If this is the case, it would be better to have a conversation with her about it.
First, let’s say that it’s just a phase and that the conversation isn’t very productive. She gets defensive and then you start to argue about why she needs to stop doing it. Then you get annoyed and stop talking to her.
This isn’t going to help you at all. Instead, it’s better if you just let it go. It will eventually go away if it’s a phase, and if underlying issues are going on, then she’ll figure out that she’s doing something wrong by herself.
She’ll either change or the friendship will end depending on how big of an issue this is for you and your friend.
11) Alternative ways of having conversations
If you’re having trouble maintaining a normal conversation with your friend, then it would be a good idea if you tried an alternative method.
Try, for example, asking your friend how this conversation is going or ask her something “stupid” like how many friends she has. This will make it seem as if you’re not bothered by the conversation and you’re willing to talk about anything. She’ll appreciate this and might be more inclined to start talking about other things.
You could also try telling her about one of your hobbies or interests. This will help you steer the conversation in a more constructive direction and also build the bond that you have with her.
12) Another solution is to just not see her as much
This one might sound harsh, but it’s a good solution if you’re sick of having these conversations with her. If it’s causing you emotional or physical problems, then it’s best to separate. If you’re able to keep your distance and avoid her, then it will be much easier to have conversations that do not require this technique. You’ll be able to see her when you feel like having a conversation with her.
If you’re not at the point where you want to end the friendship altogether, then this might be an answer for you. If your friend isn’t going to change her ways anytime soon, taking a break from your friendship might be the only way to save it.
This isn’t always an easy choice to make, but if you find yourself growing tired of the incessant chatter it might be time to consider getting your own life. You can always rekindle the friendship later, maybe when she has calmed down and stopped talking about herself 24/7.
This is a tough choice, but it might be the right one. Also, if you regularly skip a few days of hanging out with her, she might realize that it’s not that you’re tired of her, but rather that you’ve grown tired of listening to her incessant chatter. Not seeing her much might be hard, but sometimes it’s the only way to save your friendship.
13) Cope with the conversation
If you still can’t find a solution to this, then you’ll need to learn how to cope with this problem. One of the things that will help is knowing how she usually limits her conversations.
You’ll be better prepared if you can figure out what she’s used to doing and why. This will make it easier for you to avoid any conversations that require a similar technique as the one mentioned above.
Another thing that will help is knowing if this is a recurring thing. Maybe she’s been doing this since you guys first met and you know that it will pass eventually.
If it’s causing you emotional problems, then I recommend the following:
- Keep a journal of how you feel during conversations with her
- Think about what the root cause might be, and do not blame yourself for this problem. This isn’t your fault, and your friend is responsible for her actions.
- Let it go and keep your distance from her if it causes you emotional problems.
- Get outside help if you feel that this is a big problem and you can’t deal with it on your own.
- Keep in mind that everyone has problems. No one is perfect, even your friend who doesn’t listen to other people. Try viewing this problem as a part of who she is rather than a trait that she has.
14) Make the conversation more interesting
My best advice for making conversations more interesting is to think outside of the box. The solution to this problem is not easy to find, and you’ll probably have to try a few things before you find what works for you.
If you feel that your friend has spent too much time telling you about her life, change the subject. If you know what she is talking about, but don’t want to hear any more, talk about something that doesn’t involve her.
Discuss something related to what she has been talking about, like a movie or a song, but not directly related to her. This shows that you’re listening and still interested in the conversation.
Here are some of the tips for making the conversation interesting.
a) Compliment her
This is the most common but also most effective way. Keep your compliments sincere. Saying something like, “You look beautiful today” or “You have a great sense of humor” will not only make her feel better about herself immediately but can also help turn the conversation around to more positive topics. Complimenting people can make them feel good about themselves, which in turn will make them more receptive to your ideas. This way, when she talks about herself, you can engage her in a conversation about positive topics, which is more pleasant and less draining for both of you.
b) Make a joke or humorous remark
If you make a joke or humorous remark, it can change the mood of the conversation and make your friend laugh.
If she is laughing, she will not want to be serious for long. It can be something silly or sly, but you do not have to be too obvious about it. Just make sure you do not offend anyone in the process.
Maybe when you two meet, tell her that you have a joke for her. Then, proceed to tell her the joke and it will break the ice and help start the conversation with something fun.
If you have similar interests, talk about them. But even if you don’t, you can talk about something that someone in a similar situation would like.
For example, if the conversation is related to something she says, share your own experience with it. Simply showing interest in what she has to say can make her feel that you are genuinely interested and listening.
It might also help her to feel more listened to and less worried or anxious about the situation as well.
d) Talk about your experiences with her or other people
If you are close with your friend, talk about your experiences with her or other people that might affect the conversation. This can help break the ice and engage her in a more interesting topic.
It is recommended to make this tip more general so that it doesn’t seem like she is the only person you pay attention to. It can be about someone else, anything that you have in common with her.
It’s also recommended to talk about a positive experience, such as spending a day together or going on a trip together.
e) Tell stories
This can be a good way to build tension before ending the story with an interesting point. If you are talking about an experience with her and she is not interested in hearing any stories, tell one story that will be more interesting for her, maybe a funny story from your past. This will help to get her friend’s attention. If the tone of the conversation doesn’t change, tell another story about a different thing in order to create tension again.
f) Talk about other problems and issues
This doesn’t have to be anything related to what she talks about. Maybe talk about your family, or friends, or even a soap opera you saw yesterday. Anything that has anything to do with her topic. This will help her get away from the topic about herself and can also give her a positive topic to talk about.
g) Don’t be afraid to talk about the weather
Sometimes, talking about the weather can be fun and interesting. So if you are out with your friend, and she starts talking about her life, talk about the weather.
Talk about how hot it is outside and what you might do to cool down in that situation. This would also be effective because it will show that you are paying attention to her, just not focusing on what she wants to talk about herself.
15) Give her a life-path clarification
This is a variation on the suggestion that letting her keep talking allows her to reflect. Instead of reflecting, you will do this by saying “Wow, that must have been tough!” This type of statement helps validate how she’s feeling but also asks her to think about where she’s going in life.
You then get to ask how she’s feeling about it. This will get you talking about life, and about the future. You can then end the conversation by asking her how she plans on getting from where she is now to where she wants to go.
The reason this works so well is that it gives you a good opportunity to see if her dreams fit into your current friendship. If they don’t, then this could mean that you need to move on or vice versa.
Either way, you’ll now have a good sense of what she’s planning for her future, and you can ask if there are any activities that you should be aware of that could interfere with your friendship.
16) Ask her about herself in general, not only about the conversation
This is an important one because it’s a good way to help things flow naturally between the two of you. It’s also a good way to build an emotional connection between the two of you. You can start by asking her how she’s doing in general. Then you can follow with: “How are you feeling now?”
Following this will help you make sure that the conversation goes smoothly. You can also tell her how you’ve been doing, and ask her the same thing. If she’s happy that way, then it will help build a good bond between you two. If she’s not happy, then this conversation will go a long way towards getting her to open up and feel like a part of the conversation.
When you get to ask about her plans, you can say something like the following: “So what do you want to get out of life? I’m interested in knowing that.” If she uses vague words or non-specific responses that don’t provide any useful information, then you can ask more detailed questions like “You don’t seem confident in what you’re doing. What don’t you like about it?” Or “You said you’re good at making computers, but I can’t tell what you like the most about it.”
These questions can help her figure out what she’s doing in life. They’ll give you a chance to know her better and for her to feel comfortable with you. Know that everything that she says is important information and that every word counts. This will help ensure that she feels comfortable speaking to you when the time comes.
When you get to know her better, you may discover that she’s not a good fit as a friend for your life. That’s okay, too. If so, then that will help give you a chance to move on while leaving everything on good terms.
After all of this, if she is a good fit for your life and you’re happy with her as a friend, then that will create a very strong and healthy friendship between the two of you.
If you want, you can end the conversation by asking her if she’s up for hanging out sometime.
17) Be supportive and understanding
Never belittle her for being introverted. You must try to understand how her mind works and accept that this person is different from you. Her mind is wired differently, which means that you can’t expect her to act or react the same way that you do. You must be understanding and accepting of her feelings.
You should also support her in her endeavors. You can do this by being there for her when she needs help. This is very important because it will show that you care about the things that are important to her and that you’re willing to take action.
This will help create a bond between the two of you so that she’ll feel like she can open up to you when the time comes.
If she has a problem that’s troubling her, then encouraging her to share her opinions will help connect the two of you. It will also allow you to help her realize what she’s looking for in life and how it will make things better for her. If you cannot discover what it is that she’s looking for, then don’t force the conversation. Instead, use questions like “What do you like about it?” or “What do you want to get out of life?”
Then listen carefully as she talks.
18) What if she always talks about her problems?
If she always talks about how she’s feeling, then you can be there for her to help her figure out a way to improve the situation.
You can also give her advice once you understand what’s going on. For example, if she thinks that a job isn’t paying enough and that it takes up too much of her time, then try offering: “Can you think of any part-time jobs from home?” or “If it makes you feel better, I think I could get my boss to pay you more. Would you like me to ask her?”.
If you can see an easy solution to the problem, then try offering it. If she seems hesitant to accept it, then don’t give up. Instead, try to find out why she doesn’t want your help or advice. For example, she may not think that you care about her feelings. You might also discover that she doesn’t want to change anything about her life and is perfectly happy with what’s going on now.
The point here is to discover what her opinions are and how they’re evolving. This will give you a better understanding of how she thinks and why. It will also help you find out if she can accept your solutions and advice if they don’t seem possible or impossible. If she can’t, then this will help give you a chance to find out why she feels that way.
After asking her questions about her feelings, encourage her to think of a way to improve the situation. If you’re unable to do so, then try getting her friends involved. You can do so by saying something like: “You know what? I’m not sure how to help you. Would your friends know anything about this?” Then listen as she gives you advice from them.
If you cannot find an easy solution to the problem, then helping her think of a way to improve the situation will help build a bond between you.
19) You can use humor
There are different techniques you can use to direct the attention of your friend back to you or to another topic.
Despite her best efforts, she will have a difficult time ignoring your comments and yet she will still feel good about herself. The trick here is to find the right balance of humor between the two.
The intention of this technique is to make your friend laugh or smile and yet get her to let go of a topic she tends to hold on to.
20) Just say “no” if you don’t want to listen
You might find yourself in a situation where you can’t listen actively because
a) The conversation has gotten out of hand.
b) She has interrupted your conversations many times.
In this case, you have two options:
a) Just say “no”
This can be effective if you don’t like her talking about herself. Being assertive with your boundaries can give her the message that you’re not always going to be there to listen. Let’s say she keeps going on and on about herself and over time, your feelings start to change. You are probably wondering what to do next.
b) Use an evasive response and change the subject
With this tactic, you’ll avoid saying “no”. Instead, you’ll make a quick comment that changes the subject.
“Would you like to go get something to eat?” A simple response that changes the subject.
“Sorry, I have to run.” This way, she’ll get the message that you are no longer interested in listening to her life.
Let’s say she keeps going on and on about herself and your feelings don’t change. You feel like you’re being taken for granted. There are probably some underlying issues going on.
When she starts to talk too much about herself, be patient. Try to understand how her mind works and accept that this person is different from you. Her mind is wired differently, which means that you can’t expect her to act or react the same way that you do.
You must also accept that she has different feelings and opinions regarding many things in life. Instead of complaining or complaining about something, ask yourself what could be done to help her out. Help your friend feel good about herself by giving your advice. When you see opportunities to improve her life, then ask her about it.
Be mindful of how you handle the situation and how you can help your friend experience more happiness in her life.
If she has a problem that’s troubling her, then encouraging her to share her opinions will help connect the two of you. It will also allow you to help her realize what she’s looking for in life and how it will make things better for her.
Finally, you must learn how to say “no” and set boundaries. If she is always demanding your attention, then you must have the courage to say “no” when it’s time.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article!