Dear Jido – December 2022

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Dear Jido, 

I’ve lived in my condo in Florida for about ten years, enjoying the privacy and anonymity of a simple nod and smile to my neighbors.  

Recently, a new neighbor jumped over my comfort line. I believe this person is just an aggressive extrovert. But after our initial, “Hello,” the situation became a nightmare for me. 

We don’t have a “conversation,” as it’s more of a monologue. Whenever this person sees me, it begins. Before I can even say that I’m in a hurry, this person is already half-way into many monologues. 

The topics are always about everyone else in the building – people I don’t know or care to know. There’s never a natural break, so I’m often stuck there for long periods of time, feeling trapped.  

It’s become so bad that if I see that this person’s in the parking lot, I drive on and wait it out. I’m angry that this person has pushed themselves into my life. 

I’m frustrated that my home and my safe place have become a virtual prison. I don’t want to live like this but I don’t know how to handle it. 

Do you have any suggestions? 

Signed, 

Trapped 

Dear Trapped, 

Sounds to me like this person is a very lonely extrovert. If I had to guess, I would say that you’re probably not his/her only victim. 

You could try a direct approach – “You know, you talk a lot, don’t you ever stop?” but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that, unless you’re prepared for a punch in the nose. 

Instead, a harsh truth can also be said gently, thereby earning respect and possible acceptance.

Try this, the next time he/she pauses to take a breath, put your hand up and signal, “One minute.”  Then say, “You’ve said a lot of things about people that I like and I’m usually very careful about saying negative things about people – it’s part of my religion.”

Will he/she get the hint?  Possibly not. In that case try one of the following: 

  1. “I’m not really a morning/evening person, so I’m not much for conversation now. See you another time.”
  2. “Oooh, there’s something I wanted to tell you, but I have to run to the bathroom. Maybe later.” (If, heaven forbid, they call and remind you that you wanted to say something, shrug it off and say it wasn’t important.)
  3. “Just got home from work, gotta rest. Maybe later.”
  4. “You’ve given me a lot to think about. Gotta go.”

Realize that an extrovert needs to talk. Some people take it to an extreme. .He/she will probably never acknowledge that you are running away from them but sooner or later, if you keep on backing away “politely,” they’ll accept a little wave hello and go on to find someone else who is willing to listen.

Jido