You could tap-dance…
You: “I want to tell you about…”
The conversation thief: “I had a perfect day. You should have been there…”
You: “But I was just about to…”
The conversation thief: “The funniest thing happened…”
The conversation thief steals the show.
Conversation thieves swipe the limelight, leaving you in their shadow as they take the floor.
Don’t they see you’re talking?
Are they hard of hearing?
Masters of conversation-takeovers aren’t the same as your over-excited pal who can’t wait to talk enthusiastically because she’s pleased to see you.
Your fun-loving chatterbox loves sharing news with you. She values your relationship and bubbles over with eagerness to speak. You might not get a word in edge-ways, but she’s lovable. Plus, you’ll get your turn, eventually.
Conversation thieves don’t brim with anything special to say. They simply talk. Often the topic at hand is a repeat version of last weekend’s discussion with another crowd.
When the thief nabs the spotlight from you, you deflate. They frustrate and disturb you. You can’t even hear the first few lines of what they say because your inner voice is busy being astonished.
“Why has everyone switched attention to the thief when he/she’s a blatant dialog criminal?”
“How come people fall for the same old rouse every time?”
Then you tune in to what’s said. Everyone laughs like a drain. Their attention covers the bombastic individual with adoration.
What’s going on?
Could it be a case of social hierarchy?
Do people recognize the top dog and wag their tails?
But you can’t disregard the situation constantly.
Once or twice. Maybe.
Not if you see the thief regularly though.
So, you must discover how to finish what you say, despite the bandit’s attempts to break in and grab the show. If you don’t, your self-esteem will dip and you’ll feel like a wet blanket.
“Love to hear your story when I finish mine.”
This comeback works if you can get the words out over the rascal’s voice — he or she will raise their volume the second the takeover begins.
Or you could tap-dance.
It’s not grownup.
But it’s likely to bring people’s attention back to you.
Another way to steal your limelight back is to keep an absurd hat in your pocket. Whip it out when the criminal strikes and pop it on your head. Let it be a signal to the thief (you must declare your aim before the takeover) to stop talking.
The main problem with striving to win back the thread of your discourse, always, is the probability of looking petty.
Folks will say.
And “Lighten up.”
Since they don’t know the thief repeats their takeover bid twenty times a day, and you never finish a sentence, they don’t understand.
Thus, you must look light-hearted, even if you are angry.
Keep your sense of humor. When you make the event into a comedy, no one minds.
What if you’re at work, though, and the conversation robber is a colleague pinching the spotlight during meetings?
You: “My idea is to…”
The conversation thief: (booms) “I’ve got an ingenious proposal. You will love it!”
All eyes and ears swoop around to listen to the burglar.
You can see why ‘letting the incident go’ isn’t always constructive. Before you know it, the thief will not only steal the show, but your promotion too.
In such a case, the Birdy dance and a Christmas cracker hat won’t cut the mustard. You must speak up and persist. Put on your metaphorical armor and go into battle.
If you’re a woman, you mustn’t get excited or people will say you’re hysterical — the old myth still lingers, despite women’s lib.
Sometimes, body language speaks louder than words.
If you’re in a boardroom, can you step forward?
Plenty of room and the sniper’s still nattering?
Pace back and forth in front of the crowd with your chin in your hand. Look puzzled. Raise your hand and butt in — stage your own takeover.
Then again, maybe you’re sat down. So stand. Take up space. Place your hands on your hips. Now raise your hands as though asking the question,
“What’s he/she talking about?”
Conversation thieves are everywhere. You’re always within ten feet of one, according to studies — or is that rats?
Regain the conversation and your peace of mind with humor or body language (or both for good measure) and you won’t feel like a social flop.
Copyright © 2018 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved
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