Dear Captain Awkward,
I need advice on how to tell a work friend politely to just shut up.
He’s a very nice guy – super friendly and sociable, which is kind of the problem. You see, he is WAY too talkative. He sometimes says things that are completely out of left field, and he tends to go on for AGES, often getting wrapped up in completely useless details. When he starts talking, everyone else has to be quiet and listen to his long and winding tale until he gets to the end, at which point we are all relieved and can get on with the conversation.
He is utterly lacking a social gauge and has no idea of how much it’s appropriate to say and for how long it’s OK to speak. I’d compare it to the social component of Asperger’s, but strangely this guy also loves to socialise. Anyway, it’s a big problem at work because everything has to stop while he tells a story – yesterday he talked at me for 10 minutes straight, totally unprompted, about the six Chinese holidays where people visit their parents, listing them in order.
I don’t know how to let him know that this is an issue for me (and other people in the office), or what to say when he starts to ramble. He seems to miss all the hints, strong and subtle. I feel like a script or two would really help me out.