The Storyteller patterned person wants your total attention as long as you’re willing to give it.
How do you interrupt a steady stream of non-stop talking? By practicing some polite conversation stoppers.
- A touch on the arm, and, “Paula, I’m feeling overloaded right now. You’re giving me so many details that I lose track of what you’re really saying.”
- “I’m glad you had a good time at the party, Ryan. I need to get back to work.” Stand up and walk away, with a polite “See you later.”
- Agree that something is indeed exciting, then ask, “Would you be interested in hearing something I have to say?”
Watch for a phrase or topic that triggers something you want to talk about and then step in to forcefully change the subject. You’re not being rude, just shifting the person’s monologue into a dialogue.
When you consistently give into the onslaught of storytelling, inner resentment can make you miserable, helping neither you nor the person caught in the histrionic Storyteller pattern.
If someone with the Storyteller pattern negatively impacts your life:
- Use caring assertion to say when you’ve had enough.
- Make sure you get time alone to recover.
- If they seek help, refer them to this book: The Self Compass: Charting Your Personality in Christ.
- Suggest prayer and pastoral counseling.
- If you’re willing to support them in their growth, discuss how that might work.
Here is Carmen dealing with her boyfriend Boone’s Storyteller pattern. They have met after work and Boone is in full swing:
“So anyway, I just had the best time at the gym. They just redecorated the whole place. I don’t know if you’ve been recently but I was so surprised to see the new carpeting and they’ve totally repainted the men’s locker room. Say, did I tell you I had lunch with Ernesto? I met him in the men’s locker room, see, and we discovered that we both really like to play pool. There’s this cool place he knows about that I’ve never been to, but I’d love to take you sometime. How about tonight? Want to try it out? I can teach you the basic strokes. It’d be fun, huh, Carmen? Anyway, I found out how to…”
Her head spinning, Carmen touches Boone on his arm and waits until he stops talking and gives her eye contact.
“Boone.” She smiles as she sighs. “I got overwhelmed with all that you just told me. I think I took in that the gym’s been redecorated, but I lost you after that.”
Carmen takes his hand. “Can you tell me just one short thing you really want to get across to me and leave it at that?”
Boone looks down. “I know I get too excited sometimes. It’s just that…” He bites his lip. “Okay. Here goes. One thing. Would you like to play pool with me tonight?”
Carmen grins and hugs him. "I'd love to!"
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