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Makes me crazy too. UNLESS I believe the person is verbally processing. Especially with elderly people. The elderly are sometimes engaged in the profound “development” task of replaying their memories repeatedly, and from different angles, to explore meaning in the life they lived, and come to peace with it. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes boring and I get antsy– either way I count i a priviledge to be part of that. Of course as with anything, sometimes it’s necessary to press the pause button. Same with the people I am close to… I like to get clarification– “it’s not a topic I’m particularly interested in, let’s talk about something else UNLESS you’re needing to process. If it’s that I’m here for you, if not, I want to move on.”
If the person is not elderly, not close to me, and it’s just their communication style, I do my best to excuse myself from that kind of convo. What I like to do is ask personal questions. In that case they will either want to end the conversation, or will talk about something that I’m more interested in (the internal stuff).
Or if they’re giving me directions or instructions, I put my hand up, smile and say “I got it… I got it”.
Not always easy, not always successful. If it’s not working I take a deep breath. If my head is filling up and I feel “done” then I just let the awkward annoyance happen– “I said I’m done and I really mean it” or whatever thing, usually can’t think of a diplomatic ending there, maybe it’s something for me to work on. But if someone doesn’t get it, I’d rather be awkward than to suffer through it. I used to suffer through everything, now that I’ve become acquainted with boundaries I’m more willing to act on my impatience, otherwise it takes a big emotional toll on me.