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Everyday heroine shuts up dude who won’t stop talking with ingenious alpha female move

The OP as a child

By David Futrelle

Today, a story of quiet heroism from the Relationships subreddit about a woman who figured out an ingenious way to shut up her husband’s college pal after listening to him talk non-stop for several days. Indeed, it was so effective she feels a little bad about it. But she shouldn’t. She is an inspiration to us all!

Heck, even if the story is totally made up, like a lot of stuff on Reddit, I still love the way her mind works. (And I apologize in advance for only having screenshots; the post was removed; click on the pic for slightly larger versions.)

Please be true, please be true, please be true.

H/T — @chaeronaea, who posted about this on Twitter, and from whom I borrowed the screenshots.

34 replies on “Everyday heroine shuts up dude who won’t stop talking with ingenious alpha female move”

Funny, but yes, does not have a ring of authenticity about it. Nice idea though.

Its not like Gary couldnt order another steak. Or she could have reimbursed him the cost of his meal is she wanted.

I really and truly sympathize with this woman, bc I work with someone similar to Gary. This dude (H) starts talking as soon as he gets to work and doesnt let up until…well, never. It only becomes quieter when he leaves.

Like Gary, H has an opinion on everything and has to share with everyone.

Like many ppl, he likes to share amusing anecdotes with co-workers. Unlike many ppl, he seems to feel the need to repeat the same story to multiple ppl all in the same vicinity, as if we couldnt hear him.

And we CAN hear him bc his voice projects. When he drones on and on, I close the door to the office, which is pointless, bc…projected voice.

Additionally, like many ppl, he complains about things he doesnt like. Unlike many ppl though, he complains about DOING HIS JOB. If you are working pantry station, making salads is part of that. No one controls what guests order, so sometimes, H may have to fix 4 cobb salads in succession.

Oh, the horrors.

To him, its like someone ruined his day, and he becomes noticeably irritated and of course he complains. Over and over and over.

For comparison, I’m a bartender/assistant manager at the restaurant. A few days ago, I had a succession of frozen drinks (bushwacker and mudslides) to make at the bar. They all required ice cream which is found not at the bar, but in the kitchen. After the fourth in about 15 minutes, I grumbled a bit.

To myself.

In my head.

I said “another one?! Sheesh!” And that was it. Yeah they are not quick to prepare like a screwdriver or a draft beer, but I signed up for this. I knew what I was getting into. So did H.

The maddening thing is that he isnt doing anything wrong, so its not like I can write H up or anything. He just talks all the damn time and doesnt seem to know how to just be quiet for any great length of time.

@ Tony,

That sounds like a pretty fun job to me! I have said this to others who worked in bars and restaurants and they looked at me like I had just come from another planet 😀

Well, the grass is greener I guess.

My friends have come over for drinks. Bottled beer, I don’t know how to make even simple mixed drinks, I would likely be very confused in a restaurant. We all here are (mechanical) engineers, also have some civil and environmental. Which is maybe not too exciting? Oh I have seen all types, all kinds of personalities.

But this is about “The Talker.” This is a guy our other Miss Z here almost went out with. And why she gave up on online dating. Because that was ok and the guy seemed fine to talk to online, then she talked to him on the phone.

Or, “he talked non stop and I listened.” And it was loads of bullshit, bragging about money, and just “non stop yakking, he never shut up.”

Oh I should mention, speaking of food, if potential cannibalism bothers you, you should maybe stop reading here.

So this guy, he’s an engineer too, right? And had gone on to get some kind of MS or MBA and went to work as a consultant. And this was involved with environmental and industrial safety things.

She also refers to this man as “The ground up cheese guy”. Because he starts going on and on about all sorts of industrial accidents he knows about. Including one where some guy fell into a vat of cheese, they never recovered the body. (She says she’s pretty sure that this guy said they let that production run go, whether or not that’s true, this is true: Somebody loses a finger or a limb? They’re letting that go.)

And he’s naming all these companies and telling her all these things and why this is alarming is, as she says, this guy doesn’t really know me. What if I or a relative or friend worked at one of these companies? (Which is common for people in manufacturing, and of course other occupations as well.) Dude could be setting himself up for a lawsuit.

And while bragging about all of his education he decided to tell her that why he got the MS and became a consultant is because some company fired him for sexual harassment! Um, OK. Why would you tell someone this? Especially if it was “bull shit”? But of course he was “totally set up” for that, just to “get rid of him”.

This does not sound like a very trustworthy person.

“He did not shut up. He just kept talking and talking and talking and talking and talking ..”

@ Tony:

Its not like Gary couldnt order another steak. Or she could have reimbursed him the cost of his meal if she wanted.

By the sound of it, Gary was staying with them for a whole week, so out of the free room and board, he could probably spare the cost of one steak dinner.

*hangs head in shame*

This is me. I am Gary. I mean, not the literal Gary. Nobody ate my steak. But I am that person who cannot shut up. It’s almost like OCD. My brain itches if I cannot fully elaborate on every tangent and then back up and finish whatever I have been saying in the first place.

I have to preface everything with “if I have been talking nonstop for over ten minutes, please don’t be polite, just say ‘shut up, dashapants, it’s our turn to talk now’ because gods help me that won’t stop me, because my brain would still need to finish what it was just saying (and make a note of what it hasn’t yet gotten around to say), and THEN it will stop and you will have the floor for however long you need to, and I will listen, but just don’t be polite, bang a gavel if you’ve got one.”

I second the notion. Time to eat all the mens steaks.. I’m willing to do it..

People who talk too much, interrupt and don’t take what you say seriously, but expect the same in kind… I can’t STAND them.

And they can’t stand me. I’ll walk away leaving them hanging in a millisecond. That or I just ignore them and go “huh-huh… mmm-mmm.”

Seriously, people who talk so much that no one else gets to talk or they interrupt needs their tongues cut from their heads. I had the misfortune of sitting next to a guy on a plane like that. You could tell he just couldn’t WAIT to talk my ears clean off. Talking over the movie, poking me to get my attention, talking a 100 words a second about utter nonsense for a whole hour, even when he knew I had to go to the bathroom, putting his hand on my shoulder to KEEP me listening to him. Thank goodness for my large earphones. I put them on and peace returned. He must have got really annoyed, because he started poking me, gesturing that it was something “important.” I didn’t buy it (I know their tricks), and we obviously weren’t crashing. The thing was, I didn’t have any music on at the time, but those headphones were an annoying wall for the blabbermouth. I smiled, pointed to my headphones and turned over.

The sounds of his frustration, fidgeting and mouth-ticks were gold. He tried talking to other people, but looking at them, I could tell they were getting fed up as well.

Some hours later after the flight, he pretty much stormed out of the plane, his little wheeled carry on squeaking behind him.

Talking is how these people control others. They are just your typical egomaniacs, but their method is NEVER. SHUTTING. UP.
How these people don’t pick up on facial cues and the body language of those who want to shove a sock in their mouths is beyond me.

So far in my life, I’ve ran into one in the Army, that one guy on the plane, my husband’s got one of these for a friend and won’t shut up about himself and his “Greatness”… and finally, I ran into a motormouth in the mental health ward while I was there with my registered therapy dog.

He literally talked to himself when no one was around to listen, he’d follow you and try to hold you in place so you wouldn’t leave. He was the scariest because his mouth even moved in his sleep. He was Super Ultra Motor Mouth Supreme and I think there is something genuinely wrong with people like this.

I so, so, SO want this to be true, but I have some questions. Like, how is her husband still friends with this rude-ass bore? How does a rude-ass bore like Gary have any friends at ALL? Why did they invite him to stay for several days, knowing he was a rude-ass bore? And why, why, WHY does her husband want HER to apologize to HIM for doing her damnedest to teach that rude-ass bore a well-deserved lesson?

‘Tis a puzzlement.

When was he going to eat that steak, anyway? After running out of things to talk about?


Like, how is her husband still friends with this rude-ass bore?

She did say her husband hadn’t seen Gary since college, and that he admitted to her he’d forgotten about Gary’s inability to let anyone else get a word in (it’s also possible that back in those days it seemed funny and cute, especially if they were drinking/getting stoned while hanging out).

Having invited Gary to stay, the guy probably feels unable to kick him out ahead of schedule.

That said, I don’t think his wife is the one he should be mad at.

My dad is a bit like this. And he’s gotten worse over the years. But not like a soliloquy more like random bits of mouth noise. Nature abhors a vacuum like my dad abhors silence.

And on the road! OMG. He.reads.every.fucking.sign. Car dealership marquis signs. Pub. Street sign. Writing on a van. Billboards. Faded old advertising. Bumper stickers. And he cannot grab a clue. Even when I’m doing complicated driving looking for a *particular* sign and I say so – he’ll read out random signs. Even if I say, I have a complicated bit of driving coming up, I really need to concentrate… still… ugh.

I do my best to just let it wash over me, but then he gets a bit cross if he asks a legitimate question and I ignore it. I drove with him to a wedding in France last year – many, many, many hours of signs.

I suspect a fair number of people on the scale of irritating-to-actually-horrible continue to have social lives because they can coast on the loyalty of old college buddies, etc. It’s like the friendship version of the abuser whose spouse still can’t quite let go of the memory of how nice they seemed when they first met.

weirwoodtreehugger wrote:

I hope eating men’s steaks becomes the next trend in misandry.

And don’t forget drinking their milkshakes…

It’s interesting, because I actually have gone out of my way to become a little bit Gary. I’m a pretty introverted person myself and I come basically from a family of introverts. The only extroverts in the extended family moved to Kingston, so any kind of get together features a lot of dead air, so I’ve basically honed a skill of trying to relate something I’ve learned recently that might be of interest to everyone. As much as I don’t want to be the center of attention, I have noticed that sometimes people pick up on something before I’ve finished my thought and the conversation just veers over there and then I feel like a bit of a jerk saying “Well, as I was saying about blah blah blah….” But I’m very conscious only to do this on very specific occasions if it’s something I feel people would be interested in knowing. You can see a similar dynamic in my posts here: they’re long, but I typically try to structure them like mini essays with a complete and self-contained thought. Sometimes I can be snarky, sometimes quippy, but I personally don’t like having my attention taken for granted so I don’t want to take the attention of others for granted either: say what you mean, mean what you say, and make it something important.

I say all this in the lead up to the fact that… I know an actual Gary. He works in the cubicle next to mine two days a week and I dread those days because I just know that dealing with him sucks up too much of the little energy I do have. I would say that this dude does not know when to shut up except he clearly does because the minute the boss sets foot in the office, he clams up. But the second he’s gone, my Gary will be back to babbling about how much he hates the Intel monopoly and cryptocurrency has driven the price of video cards through the roof. I tell him “You mentioned that last week” and his response is always “Sorry, I have Alzheimer’s.” The guy is two years younger than me and I turn 33 next Tuesday; he doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, he just doesn’t commit things to memory because he only sleeps 3 hours a night for some reason (another thing he’s told me repeatedly).

For the most part, he hasn’t impacted my ability to work, so I haven’t made a big deal of it, it’s just more jaw-droppingly obnoxious at this point. Honestly, Del Griffith from Planes, Trains and Automobiles wasn’t this talkative. Neal Page was a dick, but sometimes I find myself tempted to channel him….

“Here’s a good idea! Have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!”


She did say her husband hadn’t seen Gary since college, and that he admitted to her he’d forgotten about Gary’s inability to let anyone else get a word in (it’s also possible that back in those days it seemed funny and cute, especially if they were drinking/getting stoned while hanging out).

Having invited Gary to stay, the guy probably feels unable to kick him out ahead of schedule.

That said, I don’t think his wife is the one he should be mad at.

Makes sense. Especially that last bit. Husband should be mad at himself.

I like the story, but there seem to be a few details missing. It takes a long time to eat a steak. Gary and her husband just sat there in silence for ten minutes, watching her, until she finally delivered the punchline? What happened to her own dinner?

I do agree with the larger point, though. Polite civility is useless against rude, willfully dense people. Sometimes you have to be willing to speak their language in order to get your point across. Assholes don’t understand treating others with courtesy, but they sure do understand their own medicine. “Nice guys” will keep creeping until told to fuck off. Nazis will keep pushing genocide until they’re punched in the face. Trump supporters will keep cheering until his hideous policies hurt them directly.

dashapants – I most emphatically don’t think you’re Gary. You have observed and taken on board the fact that many people are annoyed by that behavior and try to take steps to mitigate your verbal tendency. The “Garys” of the world have not and do not; they seem happy with themselves as they are and don’t see any reason to change.

Husbeast can be like you sometimes. We have had many a talk about going with the flow of a conversation, leaving a subject alone once said convo has moved on, and when it might be okay to refer back to your point. After twenty years with him, I have to say he’s made strides. Keep up the good work!

let’s call it a parable, folks. maybe not ENTIRELY true, but certainly a story with a lesson to learn!

I have horrible problems trying to concentrate in a noisy environment. My attention is constantly dragged away from what I am doing to consider the sound.

I have a suggestion that made a huge difference for me. Get a pair of target shooting headphones. Wear them when loudmouth is in the vicinity. If you can still hear him, wear earplugs under the phones, or earbuds playing music/ audiobook with the headphones.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants, who has much more faith in humans than I’ve been able to maintain over the course of 48 years on a planet full of them, skrev:

Trump supporters will keep cheering until his hideous policies hurt them directly.

And if the foreign-black-liberal-gay-Mexicans are getting hurt worse, they’ll keep on cheering for that, whilst, and at the same time, continuing to blame their own suffering on the fact that foreign-black-liberal-gay-Mexicans have not yet been completely eradicated even as an abstract concept. Unistat, at this point, is not so much a nation as a cult compound with borders and an anthem.

I would have left for a hotel before I would do something like that.
Who put the notion into the heads of these people that bad manners plus bad manners would result in good manners?
It is not in any way similar to the maths where multiplying a negative with a negative results in a positive.
When you add a negative to a negative you get a larger negative and both are the worse for it.

I don’t know. Though I suspect that this story is made up, and I’m aware that many men are socially conditioned to talk over women in general, this is an example of the worst way to deal with someone like this.

I’m female and I have this problem (talking over people and dominating conversations). Worse, I have one of those low-register voices that means it’s impossible to speak at a normal volume, so I yell everything I say like Samuel L. Jackson (kidding, but not by much). There are many reasons for this—being non-neurotypical is one (an unfortunate combination of high-functioning ADHD, an outgoing personality, inability to interpret non-verbal social cues, social anxiety, and poor social conditioning in spite of friends and family’s dogged attempts at home-training—case in point, this comment will probably be unintentionally long and full of unnecessary parenthetical clauses).

While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that I am acutely aware that this isn’t socially acceptable nor cute in general, and I try to mitigate my behavior as best as I can with sincere apologies, self deprecating jokes, and checking myself, lest I inadvertently wreck myself (admittedly, I don’t always remember to do the last one if I’m really on a roll). Being aware of this actually exacerbates some of the root causes of this problem, increasing social anxiety and, depending on the person, contributing a degree of resentment towards social norms (this making the person more likely to flout those conventions out of spite). This is NOT an excuse, and there are situations where this is NOT acceptable behavior. Especially in the workplace, in situations or conversations that are very clearly not about that person, and when the subject of conversation is obviously something that person knows nothing about. In those situations, it is on that person to behave appropriately, and STFU, even if it is exponentially hard for them to do so.

Usually, a self-aware person will stop if someone politely points out their behavior, but this is not guaranteed to work for long, or at all. Calling them out passive-aggressively or aggressive-aggressively, attempting to embarrass them sometimes works and might feel incredibly satisfying, but will make a sh@$#y situation even sh@$#ier (the exceptions being if the offending party is being belligerent, openly hostile to other people, or acting out in a way that is dangerous to the people around them).

The best ways to deal with it are to talk over the person as good naturally as possible and in a way that doesn’t directly put them on the spot. Sometimes, interrupting the person with phrases, such as “let’s put a pin in that,” “that’s interesting, (insert point/opinion) do you think?” or “(someone in the social group’s name) has interesting opinions/experience with that (then directly ask the named to contribute) will also do the trick (unless you are talking the the Micro Machines guy, everyone takes natural pauses, just time it to where you think a natural break in the topic would be at the natural end of a sentence). It seems rude and counterintuitive, but a self-aware person will take the hint, and said person will probably not take it personally since they habitually talk over or interrupt people. Unless they are hypocrites, they will appreciate the graceful out, and they are likely to remember it and be more mindful in future interactions. In my case, you will have an ally for life, and sometimes it’s beneficial to have a strong personality-type having your back in future situations where you’re actually dealing with a toxic douche, and not just a well-intentioned, annoying-but-mostly harmless douche like me.

If you are the type that would rather avoid any confrontations in social situations, consider pulling the person to the side and expressing your discomfort/annoyance with them one on one. If neither one of these solutions work for you, you can silently walk away, situation allowing (in a work environment, discussing the problem privately with a supervisor and letting them deal with the person can also work, with the added benefit of it being their job to do so).

I guess it just depends on whether or not said person is being a toxic douche or just annoying but mostly harmless. Stewing silently about it is unhealthy, and aggressive public confrontations can make situations worse. Unfortunately, there are many times that these are the only available options. If someone is a personality type that can or will not assert themselves in the ways described above, or fear personal reprisal for doing so from work or social groups due to societal gender expectations or such, I don’t have anything helpful to add, other than it is sometimes necessary for introverts to step up, just as it is for extroverts to step back. Everyone can stand to be a little more emotionally intelligent, IMO, regardless of their personality type.

In France, when someone interrupts you rudely, we say he’s “cutting your words” (couper la parole). Once, I was in a group and one guy kept interrupting me and everyone. I eventually gave him some paper glue in front of everyone. He stared at me and asked why I was doing that and I said: “You keep cutting my words. Now glue them back together!”

I know it was silly and childish but he looked so funny afterwards!

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