Dear Annie: How do you politely handle "the talkers"? There seem to be a lot of them out there — you know, friends, people you meet at gatherings, etc., who talk nonstop and hardly allow you the time to say anything. Conversation should be a two-way street, not a monologue, but they don't seem to get it.
For example, someone will talk on and on about a trip he took or will take, and yes, that is interesting to me, but I'd like to mention my trip, too, and he never comes up for air. Whatever I might have to say is of no interest to these talkers. When they pause, I am able to actually get a sentence in, but after they hear it, they just continue on with their monologue without commenting.
All this listening on my part is exhausting. I feel like a captive audience. So now I just don't socialize as much. I have told a friend she talks too much, but she just laughed, as if it were cute or something. But with a stranger or someone I don't know well, what should I say? — Tired Ears
Dear Tired Ears: Any relationship or encounter we have with people should be a two-way street. If you leave feeling drained after having talked with a friend, then perhaps it's time to find a new friend — especially if you have been upfront with your friend and your comments have landed on deaf ears.
Also, be aware of whether you are listening to the talkers' stories. Much of the time, we don't listen to the other person because we are waiting to speak ourselves — the very thing you are addressing in your letter.
With a stranger or someone you don't know, you can always politely interrupt him or her and exit the situation.
Unfortunately, there could be a medical reason for why your chatterbox friend can't stop. Compulsive talking could be a sign of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety. With that in mind, if the person is a really good friend, perhaps she is having a tough time and needs your friendship, but be firm in insisting that for your friendship to continue, your conversations must include both of you.
Dear Annie: Your reply to "Hurt, Frustrated and Appalled in Florida," the woman whose husband agreed to host his daughter's wedding at their house, did address the lack of communication and issues with his children. However, reading between the lines, I think this woman is afraid of having all those strangers in her home. A few suggestions might ease her mind. Remove items that might easily get broken or are valuables to an off-limits bedroom. Remove all medication and personal items from the bathrooms.
She should remember that this is a small wedding, with 65 guests. Probably only close family and friends will be invited. A generous spirit in this wedding process will go a long way toward improving the family relationships. — Tennessee Reader
Dear Tennessee Reader: Thank you for sharing your helpful hints. You are correct that a generous spirit will go a long way, not only during this wedding process but during her entire lifetime.
Dear Annie: I just read the letter from "Disconcerted About Vitamin D." I have had a question for many years and have not found a definitive answer. Does the skin absorb the same vitamin D through glass — for example, when you're riding in a car or sitting in front of a window?
Thank you for the service you provide in answering so many relevant questions. — A Daily Reader
Dear Daily Reader: Vitamin D is produced by the body when the skin is hit by UVB rays. Most glass windows block this wavelength, which means that you don't reap the same health benefits that you would get from direct sunlight. But don't get too much direct sunlight — for the sake of your skin.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]