Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Conversation effectively killed

I bet everyone has had this happen. You are chatting with someone about whatever the hell and the other person inserts a comment that leaves you sputtering to justify yourself or without anywhere to go, conversationally speaking.

Some examples:

Me: "Hey did you see what happened on American Idol last night?"
Conversation Killer: "I would never watch reality TV."
Me: "Ah..."

Me: "Hey, have you ever eaten at
*local steak house*?
Conversation Murderer: "I don't eat animal products."
Me: "Okaaaay."

Me: "Fred Meyer is having a sale on store brand diapers!!"
Conversation Snuffer: "I would never let my child wear disposable diapers."
Me: "Ummm."

And so on... You get the idea.

For a long time i didn't watch TV. Not because i was too cheap to pay for the cable (really!), but because i am vastly morally superior to you. People at work would often be conversing about whatever TV show was in at the moment. I learned to say "I don't watch that show. Tell me what happened," rather than "I don't watch TV," because that made me sound like an ass and left them with no where to go.

So i am trying to come up with a response to conversation killers that is as effective and non-snarky as my response to useless ranters.

My first thought was (as my dad likes to say) "Well, SMELL you!" But that doesn't pass the non-snark test.

Maybe the best thing is to just let the conversation die right there, and sit there looking at them.

Got any ideas? Snarky answers accepted and appreciated, as always, but i AM looking for a real idea too.


Brad said...

You say snarky like it's a bad thing. What's up with that? If I wasn't snarky I'd just be very,very quiet.

Mrs4444 said...

"Okay, then!" is what I say sometimes. You might say, "What I hear you saying is you could care less about xxxx. Is there anything you would be interested in talking about?"

But it would be a lot more fun to say, "Do you need a ride to the Emergency Room? cuz I think there's a stick stuck up your ----"

Stucco said...

If you don't kill the conversation, people will prattle on about American Idol, or other Goddamned things. Fuck em. Kill or be killed.

Cheesy said...

My response would be "eat me" but....

You could always use what my daughters MIL told us once. In the south the belles say "isn't that precious".
Translation... F*** you

Scott from Oregon said...

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that."

SUEB0B said...

Your problem is that you think too linearly. Like your response has to do with what they are saying. I am around a lot of ADD people all the time. I suggest just doing what they do - say something random out of the blue like "How many wings does a mosquito have, again?"

flutter said...

"I reject your reality and substitute my own"

nick said...

Have to say my response is usually quite sympathetic. If someone totally disapproves of something I do, I'm curious as to why they disapprove so much and whether I'm overlooking something. Though if they turn out to be averse out of sheer prejudice I'm generally as stuck as you and just have to change the subject or talk to someone else.

I have to guard against my own conversation-killing tendency, being a vegetarian, sport-phobic, reality-tv hater, but I do try to open up discussion rather than closing it down.

Of course the C-K line I come across most is "Blogging? What a complete waste of time. It's just an escape from real life...."

Small Talk Challenged said...

This happens to me frequently, so I generally play the good bye song in my head and click my ruby slippers together.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

I will be stalking the comments on this post. I have a friend who consistently Kills Conversations. THEN, resurrects them HERSELF so that she can kill them all over again. If this friend was not such a nice person at heart, I would have killed the FRIENDSHIP long, long ago. Sigh.

Although, I am taking a particular shine to the "Isn't that precious?" line. For serious!

meno said...

brad, the truth is, i want an answer that really IS snarky, but could be misinterpreted as non-snarky. How's that for passive-aggressive?

mrs. 4444, ha ha ha hah! i'll go bring the car around! Nice one.

stucco, is this why we never talk anymore?

cheesy, that's perfect! Or maybe, "How unusual." Or, "Isn't that interesting?" Which also translate into 'fuck you.'

scott, very restrained and adult of you. A good answer.

suebob, Like this? "Oh, that's great because my uncle has a lawnmower."

flutter, or "I reject you," would also work. Nice.

nick, i swear to god, i hate reality TV too. I don't even bring up blogging anymore. I've gotten too many puzzled looks.

small talk, would these times be an acceptable use of small handguns?

cagey, i've gotten some good ideas already. I think you've ranted about this "friend" before. I hope she is worth it.

Clowncar said...

Ninja stars.

You don't actually need to throw them.

Just brandish them. Raise your eyebrows. Move on.

They've been warned.

Robin said...

yep, i'm liking "isn't that precious"...a lot.

but i wouldn't discount the ninja stars and you can never go wrong with the "eyebrow raise".

Cheesy said...

LMAO LMAO @ clowncar!!!

sari said...

Gosh, you know, I still like your originally line the best. Just that and silence would do for me.

I know someone like that - when you're talking to her she'll go off on something and then just hijack the conversation. She never (ever!) listens to what anyone else says, even if you're asking her a question about what she's talking about.

If we weren't related.....ha ha ha.

pat said...

when they say "I don't watch that show" reply "You should, it is the dumbest show..."

The Real Mother Hen said...

Hey, letting the conversation die right there isn't an option, especially for me, someone who is "holier than thou" - so I always say something that's totally out of the line.

Like, "let's go to have a beer...", "I don't drink", "ok, catholic priests don't make good baby sisters but I do." or something holier than thou thing before matching away.

Btw, I'm really too cheap to pay for cable. But hey, I get free PBS/OPB, NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, a Spnish channel, I really can't complain :)

Schmoopie said...

"Would you like a nice glass of wine?"

Taradharma said...

"I can see you feel very strongly about this." Is a VERY good line. I would continue with this one. I used to be a CK in my stoopid youth. I was so self-righteous and self-centered. I try to remember that when I hear these kind of comments.

Hey, how about, "You're so cute!" or "You're so funny!" Those are pretty cool and non-snarky. Or, "You crack me up! Really! XXOO"

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I favor a blank stare, long enough to make them uncomfortable, followed by "Cool." Or that other great Southernism, "Bless your heart."

meno said...

clowncar, Ha! i need to work on my death stare.

robin, i'm liking that too.

cheesy, clowncar is a funny guy.

sari, it's always the relatives. If only we could choose them.

pat, good one. I'll remember that.

mother hen, maybe, "oh, i don't criticize other people's choices."

schmoopie, you have no IDEA how much i want a glass of wine right now.

tara, i know, i love and use that line a lot.

hearts, bless your heart is SUCH a great line.

egan said...

Honestly, letting the conversation die an awkward death is the best. It puts the person in their place in such a subtle way.

ETK said...

I am really not helpful but I really enjoy just saying "mmmmmm" and staring at them to expand on whatever it is they choose to talk about.

luckyzmom said...

I am always curious why people become so small minded or afraid, and will usually ask, "why is that?". And my suspicion is that they probably do do whatever it is or want to very much.

Eve said...

I may have missed it in this thread of various responses, but what's wrong with honesty? There's so much polite lying in the world and so little honest reflection.

How about, "Oh! Wow! Way to kill a conversation!" (Laughter.)

There's a proverb that says to answer a fool according to his folly and sometimes it applies in situations like this.

A second, and kinder, alternative is what luckyzmom suggested, which is an honest, "Why is that?" However, I only use that when I'm genuinely intersted in hearing the why of something. If I'm fairly sure a person is an idiot, I'd rather not go there.

Mels Place in Big Bear said...

I like to go with, "Wow? Really?" With a big smile. That works every time. Especially if I'm wearing red lipstick. Cause then I look extra cute. (smirk)