DEAR ABBY: I have noticed that some people in my age group (60s) are becoming compulsive talkers. These people don’t ask questions of those around them. When someone begins to speak, the compulsive talker interrupts, usually in a louder voice and returns to dominating the conversation.
Some of them continue to ramble on even when no one is listening anymore. I tire quickly when I’m around these marathon talkers, but I’m too polite to interrupt them. It wouldn’t do any good anyway, because they seem unable to stop.
When someone tells them they talk too much, they get offended, but the behavior doesn’t change. Do you have suggestions for how to handle compulsive talkers so I won’t have to listen to the person go on and on? It makes me feel fatigued, irritable and trapped.
— OVERLOADED IN WASHINGTON
DEAR OVERLOADED: I do have a suggestion. Avoid people like this. If you can’t avoid them, politely excuse yourself as quickly as possible.
These people are “sappers,” and it is not unusual for them to drain others of energy, leaving them feeling tired, overloaded and trapped as you have described. Within a few minutes of getting away you will start feeling better. Try it and you’ll see. *
DEAR ABBY: I’m 25 years old, have my bachelor’s degree, bought a house and work a great full-time job. I think it’s safe to say that I have established myself as an adult.
However, an older co-worker seems to associate me with his grandchildren because of my youthful appearance. He calls me “kiddo” and “buddy.”
Instead of greeting me the way he does everyone else, he says, “Boo!” I usually smile and nod in response because I’m not sure what response he expects. Recently he said, “You’re supposed to say, ‘Eek!’ ”
I understand he’s being friendly, but it makes me uncomfortable. I find it childish and not respectful. Should I continue to ignore it, or is there a polite way to ask him to stop?
— BIG GIRL NOW
DEAR BIG GIRL: Don’t ignore it. When it happens again, take him aside and tell him privately that being treated differently from the other employees makes you uncomfortable. Explain that it’s disrespectful and you want it stopped.
If he doesn’t comply, tell your supervisor or boss that you have spoken to him about this and it persists.
DEAR ABBY: My best friend and I both had boyfriends around the same time. I broke up with mine three months before she did. Now my ex likes her, and her ex likes me.
I told her I didn’t care if she went out with my ex because we live in a small town. They started dating, and I started talking to her ex. She got pretty mad at first, and then said if I like him I should date him.
The thing is, I have liked him for a long time and they have been broken up for three months now. Everybody says I should date him. I don’t know what to do.
—CONFUSED BEST FRIEND
DEAR CONFUSED: Because your friend now says it’s all right if you date her ex-boyfriend, what you should do is let him know you’re interested.
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