Q. I have a friend who pretty much talks nonstop. It’s hard for me to get a word in edgewise. Sometimes after spending two hours together I’ve actually said two words: “Hi,” and “Bye.” What is it with that type of brain?

A. In general, human beings have two eyes, the better to see both sides of a situation; two ears, the better to listen to both sides of a situation; and one mouth, to share one’s opinion when it is appropriate. Unfortunately, many people use their mouth much more than their eyes and ears. You indicated that this person is a “friend.” Meaningful friendships typically involve two-way communication and your description is of one-way communication. Are you simply a sounding board rather than a “friend?”

If the individual needs a sounding board and you are willing to be that sounding board, so be it. If you are not, then you will have to make some choices. For example:

  • Stop spending time with the individual altogether
  • Spend less time with the person and accept a role as "sounding board"
  • Tell the person that two-way communication is a must if the friendship is to continue
  • Monitor your time together and decide whether or not it is working for you