This week’s blog is a question from our readers about friendship and a challenging situation. Enjoy!
Question from an anonymous reader – “How do you deal with friends who manipulate and monopolize the conversation with a topic about themselves? Then hijack the content to be their own group therapy session?”
Answer from Molly – Hello Anonymous Reader – Great question, big question! We all have people in our lives that “run the show” and others that “hold back” regarding conversation. We may even be a show runner or holder backer at times. Usually getting others to change is like trying to play a broken record – it doesn’t work. However, asking ourselves powerful questions can provoke thoughts to understand our behaviors and ignite personal change for the better.
Ask yourselves these questions:
1) What challenges you about a friend who monopolizes a conversation? When a behavior of another strikes a cord with us, it is because it is has pushed up against one of our value points. What value point is this person hitting? Here a few examples – to be heard or listened, to be seen, to be understood, to feel in control, to contribute, desire for attention, to share your story, etc?
.inWhen you can answer this question, you will better understand why you feel so challenged in monopolized conversations. Learning more about yourself is one of the best ways to create great relationships.2) Ask yourself the question what might the “conversation monopolizer” need at this moment? They may be in a place of need in their life and know no other way to get that need met except for making it all about them. This happens a lot in life people use dramatic stories to try and fill a need in their life or heart.
Asking this question can help you cultivate compassion for the “conversation monopolizer.”
3) Ask yourself would I like to contribute to this conversation? If you do want to be in the conversation instead of being talked at – for it and jump in. Try using this line “I can relate to what you are saying may I share?” In most cases this will grab their attention and allow you the space to contribute.
This is often the biggest risk because we put ourselves in the way of being rejected. However, as humans if we want change we must be willing to risk.
Finally, learn how to get your values met outside of this friendship. If one of your strong values is to be heard then call a different friend that listens well before you meet with the chatter box.
Let me know how it goes!
Speaking from the heart,
Molly Hillig Rodriguez