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?
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:
- “I’m not really a morning/evening person, so I’m not much for conversation now. See you another time.”
- “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.)
- “Just got home from work, gotta rest. Maybe later.”
- “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.