The One Sugar-Coated STFU Tip You Need to Silence the Chatty Kathy in Your Office

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We all know at least one person who can monologue like a dithering Shakespearean character (in other words, with no foreseeable period in sight). But since shush-ing them isn't exactly an option—especially if they happen to be a co-worker—you'll need an escape route manages to be both effective and polite. And according to Ellen Hendriksen, PhD, of the Savvy Psychologist podcast, one surefire method for doing so is to call the conversation quits before it even really begins.

Rather than letting your cubicle-mate launch into a meandering story about her weekend glamping trip, the psychologist recommends establishing right off the bat that you have priorities—and none of them include nodding with a fake smile for the next 30 minutes. "It may be tempting to wait for an opening or to engage for a few minutes so you don’t feel rude, but if you know exactly what’s happening when Kevin [or whatever coworker won't STFU] rolls his chair into your cube, it’s okay to interrupt before he even sits down," advises Dr. Hendriksen on a recent episode of the podcast. "You can even raise your hand in a 'stop' gesture."

Then, say something like, "I'm all ears, but today I need to stick with my TDL. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow, okay?” or "Can we talk later? I'm trying to finish _______ right now." At first, it will feel a little unnatural to reclaim your schedule from this chatty Kathy, but Dr. Hendriksen assures, it will get easier. "Let me validate: It can be hard to push back, especially if you haven’t had much practice, but consider it an experiment," she says.

Just think, though: If you succeed in rerouting the distraction, you might be productive enough to—*gasp*—actually take your long forgotten lunch break.

Now, let's talk about nosy people—because there are ways to side-step them, too. And if you're a non-chatty Type B, here's how to succeed at work

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