Having the Last Word

Do you know someone who must have the last word? No matter the subject, they say one more thing, regardless of what you say. Sometimes they are argumentative, but often they simply will not let a topic end. Why not drop it and do everyone else a favor? Enough is enough!

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Many children want to have the last word, of course, but here are eight types of adults who may always seem to need the last word. These are people who are:

  1. know-it-alls
  2. dense
  3. stubborn
  4. intoxicated
  5. excited
  6. always needing to be right
  7. consensus-driven
  8. conversation hogs

The most important thing to remember when handling a “last worder” is that the last word has no value in itself. When you accept this, you will experience less annoyance and a reduced temptation to battle over the last word.

So how do you escape the trap of an annoying “last word” conversationalist?  Frequently, you can be blindsided. You may not realize the conversation is continuing aimlessly because you are speaking to a person who must have the last word. But when you finally get the drift, openly volunteer to let them have the last word and then shut your trap.

Yes, that’s right – give them the last word. You may discover they will not continue, beyond a “no thanks.” Here are three examples of what you might say:

  1. “We’ve been talking about this for while and I’m done talking about it. Is there anything else you want to throw in before we stop talking about it/I stop listening?”
  2. “Look, we are going in circles and I’d like to talk about [another topic]. Your last thoughts before we move on?”
  3. “I certainly understand what you are saying and we just have different opinions. I’d like to leave it at that. But is there one last thing you’d like to add before we drop it?”

Naturally, statements like these will not gracefully end the conversation or change the subject under all situations and with everybody. Depending on who the person is, you might bluntly excuse yourself indicating that you will return when the conversation changes topic. And, of course, you can always grit your teeth, smile, and nod until the speaker wears out.

If you’ve identified yourself as a last worder, have you gotten the hint and will you reform?

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