I have a colleague at work who when speaking will keep talking without taking a breath AT ALL. I recorded our last call and checked the time he was talking vs. the time I was talking. He was talking 96% of the time.

That does not matter. What matters is that he never stops and listen. In a normal conversation one party talks, then there is some silence, then the other party talks. Sometimes one party can talk more than the other but I understand still the silent party has a chance to say something if required.

Now with him it's not possible. He keeps talking. If I try to talk or abruptly interrupt him, there is no difference. He keeps talking exactly the same to the point of not making any difference if I am there or not.

I realised this is not something specific to me. He is like that with everyone. An example: Once we had a call when he was heading to the airport. I head how the taxi driver talked to him and he just talked: "just go" "go to the airport" without even wondering what the driver was saying AT ALL.

Is there any way to make this kind of people at least communicate verbally in a fashion that I can also talk?

  • 4
    What is the purpose of such a conversation? It could make a big difference. If the person wants information from you, it's their own fault if no information is given. If you want something from them then you should go another way.
    – puck
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 8:04
  • Did you tell them, that there's something you woul like to say? Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 19:37
  • It is work related. It is complex stuff. It is not just like I need some info from him. We really need to exchange and have long discussions about plenty of topics. Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 11:44
  • 2
    It's important for you to define your goals for this type of conversation, as that will greatly impact the right answer to the problem. If this was a person who just wanted to be friends with me, I would just avoid them entirely. Given that you say this is a work relationship, that isn't an option. You say that you need to exchange information, but if that's true, then how has this worked in the past? He apparently doesn't need information from you because he doesn't allow you to give it to him, and yet you two are still work colleagues. We need more clarification to give you a good answer
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


I shared the same problem you had with a good friend of mine. In the beginning I used to keep my phone on the loudspeaker (if I was alone) and do other stuff until he would stop to take a deep breath. I would have rather stop talking with him completely but he was nice as a person with the only problem of being excessively verbose.
Then I started asking him what happened in the end (if he's telling some event or story) or what is your point (if it's just something difficult to comprehend). If he told me the answer. Then I accelerated him to his end of topic with questions.

Suppose if he would have said : "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ" without my interruption, then

  1. firstly, Somewhere around B/C I would ask what's Z. If he told me what it was(rare). I would swiftly end the whole thing as he gave away the Z.
  2. If he didn't tell me Z, I'd ask a question to know the mid-point. Now, since he didn't tell you Z in the first place, It's very likely that he'll at least tell you something around 'MNOP'.
  3. Keep proceeding with divide and conquer.
  4. ONLY when he reaches Z show your interest and behave dull otherwise.

Make him know that you're interest is in Z and Z alone. With this, he'll stop making conversations he doesn't know the Z of.
If you do not intend to talk with him. You can be very strict with this process and ask for Z or MNOP incessantly. This would surely scare him away.
If you wish to keep your thread with him. You can be lenient sometimes, and let him take his time to change.

  • Makes sense to me. But the problem for me is that I could not even talk at around BC. Let's say... you could kind of ask about Z when he was at BC. For me, he would not even take air or stop for a single second his speech. So I cannot ask him about Z or anything. He is just like machine gun talking. Commented May 20, 2020 at 5:59
  • I'm sorry, that's a tough situation I don't have a clear answer to. Likewise, I'm interested in reading a different answer though.
    – user29540
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 8:19

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