Dealing With People Who Cut You Off, Or Won’t Stop Talking

by Reid on June 5, 2015

Young Girl Refuses To Kiss A Guy In BedJoin relationship expert Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from

as they share what to do, whether your lead workshops or in your personal life, when people cut you off or won’t stop talking.

Cathy: Are you ever in a situation where all of a sudden someone will …

Reid: Cut you off, and then keeps talking?

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: Yeah. Happens all the time.

Cathy: (Laughs) It can be difficult when you’re trying to …

Reid: I hate it when people do that.

Cathy: (Laughs) workshop. I have a couple coming often. I was wondering if you could give us some suggestions for when someone …

Reid: Cuts you off.

Cathy: Or starts sharing and won’t stop.

Reid: Okay. As a facilitator and this is also just useful for people … Who are we, again?

Cathy: (Laughs) I am Cathy Vartuli from

Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from

Cathy: (Laughs).

Reid: What was the question?

Cathy: How do you handle it when someone starts talking ..

Reid: Cuts you off and just keeps talking, but you were supposed to be trying to lead the discussion.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Mostly, it helps if you just look at them and you’re like “Oh, they’re just trying to help.”

Cathy: Yes, I get they want to be seen and heard. They want to feel like they’re contributing, but sometimes they’ll take the subject offline or if we have a certain set schedule of things we want to cover, it makes it difficult.

Reid: As a facilitator you can always do this when you’re at a dinner conversation, establish that you want it to be interactive but that you will cut people off and you apologize in advance in service of whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: You basically train them, because then when you do cut them off, and do it compassionately. You can be firm and it’s building trust because you already said you were going to do that.


Reid: Then you’re fulfilling on that, so it’s not a surprise. If somebody forgets that you said that, the rest of the room heard you say that and they’re seeing you take control because this other person is kind of hijacking the conversation.

Cathy: Could you give us an example, if someone started talking, shared like they were invited to and they keep talking and they’re telling about all their experiences.

Reid: Well, that what you’re saying right there is really important.

Cathy: That one time that …

Reid: Yeah. I totally get that and I love your passion in wanting to share that and I will totally talk to you later, after we get this videotape done.

Cathy: This is really important what I’m trying to say.

Reid: I noticed. You don’t have to say it now and we don’t have another minute but I’ve got more time for you later.

Cathy: I just want to say this one thing.

Reid: No! You just do it like that. Now, with other people like when you’re at Thanksgiving Dinner, it’s your mom or your aunt, you’re basically screwed so just don’t go home for Thanksgiving, ever.

Cathy: (Laughs) Or drink heavily.

Reid: Or drink heavily. Well, no. You might drink heavily then go home. With other people what you can do, depending on your personality, right? You can be like … Try to do the thing again.

Cathy: Okay. So when I was having this experience, it was really amazing …

Reid: Oh my goodness!

Cathy: (Laughs).

Reid: I just remembered, we don’t have time for this conversation. I have to get back on track. (Screeches) You’re going to have your own style, but you basically have to exert yourself.

Cathy: What if you’re not quite that boisterous; what if you’re someone … I’m a quieter person, so it’d be harder for me to do that in way that would interrupt them.

Reid: You could just raise your hand.

Cathy: Okay.

Reid: Until…

Cathy: Okay.

Reid: Try talking to me.

Cathy: I was having this amazing experience, yeah I see that you want to do that but I want to tell you (laughs) … It really is hard to talk when your hand is raised, isn’t it?

Reid: I’m also being present with you.

Cathy: Yes.

Reid: You can do … Now, don’t get passive aggressive. Other thing is you could just stand up. Eventually, they’ll be like “What are you doing?” You’re like “I’m trying to regain control of this conversation” because I actually have an agenda that I need to take care of.

Cathy: Yeah. I really like that you’ve suggested to me before to make sure to acknowledge because they really do want to be seen [crosstalk 00:04:18]

Reid: Oh my god! What you just said there, the being seen part.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Really important. I want to acknowledge you for that piece right there, that’s key. Do you mind if I talk you after this about that.

Cathy: That’s good, I’d like that a lot.

Reid:  It’s mostly just understanding that being present will start the change. How they’re going to occur to you. Most people are repeating themselves because they don’t feel heard. They’re going on and on … Most people, are going on and on because they feel you actually listening to them and then they, because nobody else listens to them in the world they want to get all of it out all at once.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Or they’re just trying to contribute. Leave them feeling smart, try to leave them feeling seen and heard. Don’t get flustered, get silly with them if you can. That will usually help.

Cathy: Okay. If they, none of those work, do you have a solution?

Reid: This is Reid Mihalko from

Cathy: And Cathy Vartuli from (laughs).

Reid: Leave comments.

Cathy: (Laughs) That was funny.

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