I have this middle aged roommate who is a bit on the talkative side. He keeps talking about his life events and stuff and doesn't bother to ask anything about me. I was OK in the beginning and sort of encouraged him but now I'm tired of him and don't want to listen to silly life stories.

I have tried avoiding him as much as possible but there are unavoidable times when he and I are in the room at the same time. I don't want to come off rude asking him to shut up. So, in short, how do I politely ask him to shut his trap?

My roommate and I are Indians.

  • You said you've been trying to avoiding him. Where this talk happened? On your room? Can you find a way to be away when he is around? Try to "match" your schedule to his.
    – Vylix
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


I would just tell him that you need to have a talk. Then sit him down & explain that you are a person that requires a certain amount of quiet time in a day. I am not sure what you do, but perhaps insert what you like quiet for, such as reading, relaxing, meditating, whatever.

I talk a lot. My spouse needs quiet. It is okay for him to need quiet. He is not required to be my sounding board for all the thoughts that are in my head. I have learned to seek others to talk to when feeling talkative while he needs quiet. I call family or a friend, go visit, etc.

I am sure he doesn't want to impose on you. I would simply let him know that you are sometimes a little overwhelmed as you are not used to this much conversation & that you do like him and you do not want to be offensive, so you need a way to let him know that sometimes you are feeling a little mentally tired & just need some down time and conversation can feel overwhelming at those times. Then when you are feeling overwhelmed you can tell him that.

So let's call him John for this case. You can say:

"Oh John, you have some really interesting life stories & I would love to hear one later, but right now I am half brain dead & just need to listen to some music or read & not think at all. Maybe we can chat later. I'd really like that".

In this way, you are able to say what you need and not insult his overly excited desire to talk when you have a serious desire for some quiet. He may just need reminding that he is intense to be around all the time.

My spouse has to remind me sometimes that I have worn out his brain for the day & he needs me to find someone else to interact with. He does it kindly though, so I am never offended & instead I often apologize for not noticing that I have worn him out.

  • 1
    I'll have try this. Hope i won't sound rude while saying this. I have a bad history making the statements sound wrong when speaking.
    – SMIth
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:37
  • I wish you luck on finding the right words so it will feel positive & productive. I think you might find he is aware that he talks a lot (those of us who talk a lot have often been told before) and letting him know that you feel a little overwhelmed is totally reasonable. You have a right to enjoy your space & where you live as much as he does. If he is a decent person, he will understand & respect that.
    – threetimes
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:51

Don't ask them to shut up; it's rude.

Keep yourself occupied, look uninterested, unapproachable.

But, on other occasions talk to them as you normally should, and maintain your friendship. Roommates are an important part of life. Do not leave a bad impression.

You hate the constant boring stories, not the person, and that message they should pick up eventually.

Use your body language.

Folded arms, blank look on your face etc. are examples.

See also: How to Ignore Someone

Move out.

Find a reason to change room that doesn't hurt their feelings.

Speak to them about it.

If the abovementioned aren't really working or possible solutions, it's time you had a talk.

Next time, just briefly respond with something like this:

You have a lot of interesting stories to share, and sometimes I like them, but I'm normally more interested in listening to music (and other things) and to just sit back and relax, so I hope you don't mind if I get back to my music (or something).

And make sure you're not coming off as harsh when you say this.

I've lived in hostels in India, and shared apartments in Dubai. My roommates were great. Nevertheless, I get the idea.

  • 2
    Is just ignoring someone really not "rude" in India? Surely doing something like saying "I'm busy right now and can't talk" or wearing headphones to listen to music or something like that is preferred to simply ignoring them entirely? Particularly with a roommate, you want to be on good terms.
    – Catija
    Jul 25, 2017 at 21:02
  • @Catija I am not finished with this. :)
    – NVZ
    Jul 25, 2017 at 21:04
  • @Catija Or, not. I'm done. Too sleepy. Will see to this tmrw.
    – NVZ
    Jul 25, 2017 at 21:07
  • I agree with some points. And i do get myself involved in some activity to avoid him. Avoiding him without any reason is rude. So i do make use of headphones, but I'm not sure if he knows what they're, because he still keeps talking. It's really tough for me to pretend ignore someone even when I'm on full volume. Currently my most effective method is go out the moment he steps into the room on pretext of i have to be somewhere else or pretend sleep. But how long can i do this?
    – SMIth
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:17
  • @SMIth are you two of the same age? Where is this? College hostel?
    – NVZ
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:23

I would ask my roommate to "defer." Specifically, I would say something like, "I'd like to catch up with you later. Now is not a good time for me to talk. I am working on/thinking about something right now."

A considerate (but clueless) roommate will honor your request. If this person repeatedly refuses to do so, you might cut him off or find another roommate.

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