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Having the Last Word

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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!

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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About Dr. Coach Love

  • Nese

    Now here is a question, Why is there compelling need in some folks to be the last one to ‘say goodbye’ or in the case of a phone call, the last one to hang up?

  • Dr. Coach Love

    Hi, Nesse,
    Intriguing question. Without a conversation with that person, I can only guess it could be related to a superstition or a jynz belief. But it still applies—the last word has no value in itself.

  • Craig

    Too often in such a situation, people just drop a snarky “you always have to have the last word, don’t you?” — which, ironically, very often just ends up as a passive-aggressive way of doing the very same thing you’re accusing the other person of doing: trying to get the last word by accusing the other person of trying to get the last word. Your suggestions here are much more constructive, and more people need to try them.

  • drcoachlove

    Thanks Craig for your clever insight which is ironically oh-so-true. And,remember: There is no such thing as too much talking—only more talking than someone else cares to hear!