Zip it, lady

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: I am sure that you have dealt with this in the past, but we have a friend in our circle who cannot stop talking. She is very smart and well-spoken, and she is extremely knowledgeable and has a lot of great things to share, but she never gives others a chance to talk about their thoughts or things going on in their lives. She talks over people, interrupts and monopolizes every conversation, both in person and on the telephone.

We have talked to her many times, and some of our friends have chosen to not be a part of our activities because this gal just can’t stop talking. We have even gotten to the point of sometimes being rude to get her attention. If we try to interject, she either speaks over us or gets upset because we have interrupted.

When we do talk to her about this, she gets offended and refuses to participate in conversations, which seems passive-aggressive and makes us all uncomfortable. After she thinks about it and stops being offended, it gets better for a short time — but then it starts up again. She also likes to pick one person and monopolize that person throughout a whole group gathering. When it happens with me, I feel as if I am being held captive, because I would like to visit with the others at the party.

She is a great friend, and we don’t want to exclude her, but it has become so obnoxious and irritating that it may have to happen. We would like to keep this gal in our circle of friends, but it would be nice if she would finally figure it out and become a listener, as well as a talker. We have talked to her many times, so now we are all hoping that she sees this and takes note that it may be about her. — Love You, But Just Stop Talking

Dear LYBJST: Perhaps we should tap this woman’s hot air as a renewable resource, because it doesn’t seem to be dwindling. Even if she sees this letter, I’m doubtful it will have much of an impact. You’ve already tried talking to her about this issue many times, and she’s either ignored it or been indignant.

The only other thing I can think of is that she may not be well emotionally. So you might encourage her to seek counseling, where she could talk as much as she wants.

Dear Annie: I have just been confronted with a problem I’ve never seen mentioned in your column. On the street behind ours, a very pleasantly nice couple with two sweet little girls moved in. Our backyards meet. When we are out on our patio, we enjoy watching the girls playing in their yard and small pool. We became acquainted with them, and when I found out one of the girls had her third birthday coming up in a week, I purchased what I thought was a very nice gift, gave it to her mother in a brown paper bag and told her it was for “Libby’s” birthday. She asked me whether there was something there for “Beth” (the other daughter, who’s 4). My reply was, “I thought it was Libby’s birthday.” She informed me that Beth has feelings, too. I was shocked and at a loss for words. Now I wonder what I’ll do when Beth has her birthday. My husband and I had five children. Wouldn’t that system have been hard on some of our gift-giving friends and relatives? I wonder, has my mind been shut off to the outside world? — Confused Giver

Dear Confused Giver: This mom is not only being rude to you but also hurting her daughters in the long run. As mothers, our job is to teach our kids how to grow up and be respectful and unentitled members of society.

If she is sending them the message that they should receive gifts even when it’s just their sister’s birthday, the girls will grow into very unhappy adults, waiting for life to give them all the things they think they deserve.

Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.