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13 December 2012 @ 01:21 pm
How do you deal with the friends in your life who never ask about you, and always or almost always redirect conversation to themselves when you try to bring yourself into the frame?
I'm feeling: curiouscurious
Renata Piper: jedi emily dickinsonlyonesse on December 13th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
if i find them interesting enough to be friends with them anyway, i just let it go, and figure it's kind of a one-way street that's worth going down. i can be a fangirl rather than a friend, perhaps? there are rather few people i find all that interesting, though not zero.
harimad on December 14th, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
This is a good summary of my thoughts also.

Edited at 2012-12-14 10:11 am (UTC)
(no subject) - curly_chick on December 17th, 2012 07:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
T Streichsweetbaboo on December 13th, 2012 06:32 pm (UTC)
By valuing other parts of the friendship than conversation.
m.entrope on December 13th, 2012 06:48 pm (UTC)
Limit the time I spend with them and constrain the interactions as much as possible.
Doug Orleans: DOUGdougo on December 15th, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
Mizarchivist: Bookworm hidesmizarchivist on December 13th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
Factors being charm, charisma, (I might not actually care, particularly if I don't have a lot to say about myself right now, which is often the case) how long I've been friends with the person, how much I feel I'm invested in that relationship.

Generally if I don't feel that any of those factors are enough weight, I'll not make a lot of effort to see that person.
Susan Constantsconstant on December 13th, 2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
I always wanted to know about that, since it happens to me all the time and omg, that's so annoying to me. Also, other things bother me a lot - like people who talk a lot about sports! I always thing, look, why do I care about sports, and I'm trying to find a way to redirect the conversation to something interesting, like me. And one time, I was in a parking lot, and this person in a car totally took my spot!
ruthless compassion: laughteraroraborealis on December 13th, 2012 07:34 pm (UTC)
I adore you!
(no subject) - entrope on December 13th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ceo on December 13th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lazyzlazyz on December 13th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
On-and-On Anon
born from jets!!!catness on December 14th, 2012 01:09 am (UTC)
Brilliant. :)
Co-conspirator of Squee: fairymuffyjo on December 13th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
I usually tell them a family story that goes like this:

True story...Tappy and Mary are sisters (currently in their 60s). There's a story we tell from when Mary was about 4 years old and Tappy was 6 and it goes something like this:

The family had a visitor over for dinner. At the meal, the father was sharing all kinds of fun facts about his kids. He explained "today in school, Tappy did this really cool project" and Mary came over and tapped on his arm. "Not right now, sweetheart, I'm talking." And she sat down, very patiently. Well, this went on for a while and he was saying "And Tappy is taking music lessons, did you know that?" and the guest answered happily. Mary came over and tugged on his arm again. "Not now, love, I'm talking." Well, this time, she really wanted to be heard so she tugged again.

Finally he turned to her and said "What is it?" and she replied in a very straightforward and serious tone "Now it's time to talk about Little Mary."

Usually it elicits a giggle or at the very least, a confused look. At which point I usually say "now it's time to talk about Little Jo." and continue on with whatever I was trying to share beforehand. Either they get the point, or they don't. It usually solves the problem and at least gives us a shortcut to indicating the problem.

Of course, this assumes they are someone I care enough to continue investing in long term. If I don't mind just being acquaintances, I generally shrug and spend less time with them.

Edited at 2012-12-13 07:58 pm (UTC)
Spiderbabearachne8x on December 13th, 2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
Usually I eventually decide they aren't really friends.
... in a handbasketinahandbasket on December 13th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
This, unfortunately.
All relationships are two-way streets in my bubble.
Purple Vengeance Versiondr_memory on December 13th, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC)
I make note, and they stop being friends.

If by the age of, let's say, 35 you haven't figured out that social conversation is like basketball -- a game where you are supposed to pass the goddamn ball occasionally -- then you are probably beyond help.
Yagayagagriswold on December 13th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
I have one friend in particular who does this. Since she knows that her social skills can be lacking, I will come right out and say to her "I've tried three times to tell you about my [thing] and you're turned the conversation back to yourself every time. I'd really like you to listen to me for a while." And, she usually will!

If I were the one doing the interrupting, I would want to hear "I'd like to tell you about [thing.] Can you just listen for a while?"
blkblk on December 13th, 2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
Ooh, complicated.

It depends on the person. First I determine if this is a friend - someone who I otherwise enjoy spending time with and interacting with. Then I think about if our interaction is something that actually I have a problem with and feel hurt by (and could possibly effect positive change of), or if it's something that I can compartmentalize into the type of friendship I have with them.

If it isn't someone I particularly want to see more of, I will probably just try to limit my time with them and distance myself.

If it's someone who I like and enjoy seeing, but I don't feel a strong need to change our interaction, then I may just keep them as a friend for certain activities or events instead of someone who I seek out to share personal things with.

If it's someone who I like and enjoy seeing AND this interaction bothers me enough that I want to try to change it, I may well point out their behavior and explicitly ask them to do something different. This is a delicate line, as I do not want to be someone's social skills coach or therapist, but I do want to help me/us where it is possible.

I disagree with the idea that a 35yo without social skills is beyond help. I think a 35yo without social skills is sad, but I know a rather large number of people - including friends as well as people I date - in their 30s or 40s and 50s who, for a variety of reasons, really don't have the social skills that they 'should' have at their age. Sometimes they are aware of it and want to improve, and sometimes they aren't/don't. Sometimes they fit along great in certain crowds and not at all in others, and have simply chosen to self-segregate.

People are complex.
mirandamissionista on December 13th, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
A friend once summarized her feelings about long distance phone calls:

If I'm paying for it, we're talking about my fabulous life. If you're paying for it, we're talking about your fabulous life.

So, if there's a context along those lines, then I can cope with the monopolizers. If no such context exists, then there has to be some other reason to hang out with them (i.e., they make the best drinks on the planet), or we drift apart.
Purple Vengeance Versiondr_memory on December 14th, 2012 03:11 am (UTC)
Oooh, good point. If you're buying or making the drinks? Chatter on to your heart's content.
What do you think we are, Monkeys on Sticks???goat on December 13th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
They generally get put in the box of "party friend" rather than "close friend". Perhaps that's not entirely fair, because if I were unknowingly doing this, I'd like someone to gently point it out to me so I could work on changing my approach.
"Radioactive" Richradioactiverich on December 14th, 2012 01:49 am (UTC)
That's a good question... how do you do it?
porpurina: fire handsbloodstones on December 14th, 2012 02:33 am (UTC)
If this is something that happens occasionally I give it a pass. Everyone has days when their life is taking up all their mental space; I want people to be patient with me when I'm having those days, and I'm willing to be patient with other people when they're having their days (or simply cut the interaction short on that particular day if it is not a time when I have the spoons, though fortunately that doesn't happen often). If someone behaves this way repeatedly I will, as most people have said, maintain my distance if it's not an important relationship or say something if it is.