I have a friend, "Alice"- I've been friends with her for over 12 years. Met in middle school, still friends as adults. We're both kind of socially awkward and quirky.

What happens a lot is that she will tell me about something in great detail and will continue talking about it for the entire duration of our hangout. She also often pulls up a video/clip on her phone without saying anything and asks me to watch it with no context- these clips are usually from a game/show she's really into.

I understand that she's excited about the topic but the way she presents the information to me makes it feel more alien because I don't know the story, characters, etc. so she starts to explain all of those things too and for me it's annoying because she just talks for a long time while I would have preferred to change the subject to something we both are familiar with and can relate to.
She's pretty talkative and bubbly- sometimes I space out and stop listening as bad as that sounds. It's typical for her to go off on a tangent for 30+ minutes on one subject.

Yesterday we were talking about movies and Alice was talking about how she saw a movie set in Hawaii and our friend, "Bill" said he liked movie set tours. Then Alice looked up a long list of movies shot in Hawaii and proceeded to read off the whole list- when she was done she started reading the list for music videos shot in Hawaii and Bill said "I don't think I need to hear these too" but Alice said "This one is shorter" and still read the list verbatim.
I didn't say anything during this conversation but I really wanted to tell her to please stop reading the list after 20 movies in, but I think Alice thought Bill was interested in this information and maybe Bill was.

Another scenario was that she was telling me about her blog post she was proud of because it got a lot of "likes" and comments. She described it in good detail and talked about it a lot. Then later she pulls out her phone and shows me the post and read the whole thing out loud to me.
I wanted to tell her that she explained the content of her post well enough earlier and I didn't want to sit through her reading it out loud to me but I wanted to be polite.

When these situations happen I just listen and throw out a comment here and there to show her I'm still paying attention (kind of). I find it hard to have a two-sided conversation because when I do start talking she kind of "hijacks" the conversation and begins to talk about her own experience/situation/opinion/etc. or brings it back to the subject she was going off on.

Our friendship has always had this dynamic but it's a friendship I value and I want to have more "two-sided" conversations with her. I want to know of ways I can tell her nicely, "Hey, I get that you're really into this- it's is cool and all, but can we talk about (other subject)?"/"Hey not to be mean but I don't want to watch that video/clip on your phone"
I've known her for a long time and I've said things like this before but she usually responds with "Hold on I was getting to the good part", "Oh yeah- so the thing I was talking about...", "Watch it- it's really funny", etc.

  • 3
    Is it possible that Alice is on the autistic spectrum? Talking about a subject you're passionate about in great detail, without realising that the other person stopped paying attention 10 minutes ago, is a classic sign of Asperger's. It's not our job to diagnose people, and I don't mean to sound like I'm insulting her if she isn't, but if she is on the spectrum, it would explain her behaviour and affect any potential answers.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 5, 2018 at 16:46
  • @F1Krazy I've known her for a long time and I wouldn't rule it out- but as far as I know, she isn't?
    – aaa
    Jul 5, 2018 at 16:53
  • More than once, I found great relief in concluding that a friend who consistently missed social cues was on the spectrum. Then, their behavior looked self-absorbed due to their limitations, rather than rude for being self-centered. What worked for me was to say, "Sorry, did you have a sense that I was into what you're showing me? Would you be able to take a break if I was not that interested?" Also, if you politely nod and such, you are leading her on. May 19, 2020 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


Depending on how deep Alice delved into a topic, you can try different approaches.

Change the topic

Snatch up any comment that would let you change the topic while still continuing the general conversation.

Like Hawaii -> movies shot in Hawaii -> one has "angel" in its title -> redirect the conversation to angels

Bluntly tell her how boring it is

That's what your friend Bill tried to do. Be more direct. You could say something like

I didn't see more than a handful of those films and don't even know half of them. Let's talk about something else.

Have a honest conversation about feelings

Tell her that you don't like it when she keeps on talking without letting you get a word in. Tell her that you feel ignored, like you don't even matter to her.

Do this talk calmly and with the intention of improving your friendship. Since this appeals to her on an emotional level, she is more likely to change her behavior. Do not make acusations like "You only care about yourself, but never about me".

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