We’ve all been in settings when one person dominates the conversation. You could be in the middle of delivering a eulogy, or a child, and attention whores will still steal your spotlight. Short of manslaughter, there are not many ways to stop them. They live in a world of their own. These people include:
The Explainer: This person thinks everyone around him has the IQ of a legume. Therefore, it is his responsibility to explain, in excruciating detail, what is happening. “In case you’ve never heard the term ‘thermometer,’ it is a device that measures temperature.” Or “Let me explain the situation in Libya in terms you can understand. Blah, blah, blah. Breath. Blah, blah, blah, etc.”
The Interrupter: You’re in the middle of a great story when, from out of nowhere, The Interrupter pipes in–guessing the end of your story, or changing the subject altogether. Most Interrupters are murdered before they turn 45.
(Typical Interrupter behavior.)
The Redundant: This person is also called The Echo, The Superfluous, The Back-Up, or The Repetitive. The Redundant has several irritating behaviors which include a) exactly repeating what has already been said, b) repeating what has been said in a different way, c) echoing the last few words that were said. Example:
First person: I think this must be the hottest day of the year.
The Redundant: It sure seems like it’s the hottest day of the year.
First person: I could use a cold drink.
The Redundant: I think drinks are in order!
First person: Are you a professional echo?
The Redundant: Echo . . .
The Irritated: Not only does The Irritated have NO TIME for your conversation, she goes out of her way to let you know her time is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than yours. Irritated tendencies include finger drumming, toe tapping, knee bouncing, a pursed expression and playing on her phone while you’re explaining how sad you are your dog died. They’re not listening. Leave.
The One-Upper: You just climbed Mount Everest. But The One-Upper climbed Mount Everest in the off-season, carrying his sherpa up the hill even after losing three fingers to frostbite. Or. You received a job offer from Apple that will double your salary. Too bad, because The One-Upper now operates Apple. You just can’t win. Stop trying.
The best way to deal with attention whores is to walk in the other direction. They won’t realize you’re gone until they need someone to refill their coffee.