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by Abigail Van Buren

Free Kidney Screening Helps Put Woman Back in the Pink

DEAR ABBY: I don't think I have a recessive personality, yet I constantly find myself in conversations with people who appear to have no interest in what I have to say. Regardless of the subject, I am never able to finish what I want to say before the other person interrupts with his/her own "more important" story.

An example: I said, "My mother-in-law came to visit last night ..." Before I could get the next word out, someone started talking about an incident she suffered through with her M-I-L. She continued on for more than five minutes.

Another time, during an hour-long lunch with a girlfriend, she spent 45 minutes (I timed her) talking about herself. And then there's my co-worker who spent seven minutes of a conference we had for a project we shared discussing the project, and the rest talking about herself.

Am I expecting too much to be heard, respected, empathized with and supported by people I consider close friends and associates? What can I do to remedy this? -- LET ME FINI ...

DEAR LET ME: Your problem is that you are not assertive enough. A way to remedy the situation would be to interrupt the interrupter by saying immediately, "Excuse me -- I am still talking," and finish your story. And as to a colleague blathering on about herself during the discussion that was supposed to be about your project -- you should have said, "Oh, I'd love to chat. But right now I have too much work to do. Bye!"