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1/10/08

How to Dissuade a Bore

We have all met them. The “know-it-all”, or perhaps worse, the “think-he-knows-it-all”. They can be quite captivating. Meaning, you are the one that is trapped. Allow these tips to help you disengage.

Set limits. If there seems to be no end to the saga, hold your hand up as if to indicate, “Stop”. Jump in with the assumption that this could take awhile and that, although you would love to hear every detail, you have other obligations. Smile and graciously go on your way.

Quit agreeing. Nothing heartens a bore more than encouragement. Watch your non-verbal cues to continue such as head nods, smiles, or utterances such as “Un-huh” or “I see”. I knew a man who spouted his opinions interspersed with a questioning, “Right?” In an effort to get to the matter at hand, I would unwittingly respond “Right”. Thinking that I was in agreement, he continued full steam ahead. I stopped agreeing and said, “No, I don’t know if that is right or not.” Without a concurring audience, what is the point.

Ask for a conclusion. Assertively set boundaries by asking him/her to skip the details and briefly give the end result. Firmness shows respect for you and kindness shows respect for the humanity of the bore.

Use Archer Bunker humor.
Rather than gesture hanging yourself, in a playful manner act as though you are dozing off. Make your exit and go home to bed or the washroom to splash cold water in your face.

Act as if. Give the individual an easy out by acting as if you have been monopolizing his time and offer to let him go. Then do it.

Stand up - physically as well as for yourself. If you are seated, stand up. Whether in an office setting, your living room or a barstool, when you stand up it gives a powerful non-verbal message that the encounter is over.

Pass the buck. I hesitate to suggest this, even though I have used it on more than one occasion. Using the networking strategy of acting the host, draw another person into the conversation then make an amiable exit (to entertain others, of course). Later, make it up to your unsuspecting pawn by taking her to lunch.

Even though bores are boring, they are still human beings so treat them kindly. Be firm without being rude. Be more cautious the next time you are around them to practice amiable avoidance.

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