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How to Handle a Loud Mouth

Who Hasn't Run Into a Loud Mouth

We’ve all had run-ins with bossy and controlling personalities that think they know-it-all about everything. These people look for trouble before there is any. They think it’s their job to tell us what they know and give us a seminar while they’re at it. An hour or two in a room with big-mouth personalities might tempt us to run the other way and never return. But, what do we do if this narcissistic-type personality is a family member? Do we become a victim to their barrages? Do we cut off ties? Or, are there ways we can manage our relationship?

We can point out to them how what they say affects us, but certainly we can’t change them. When we’ve had enough and blown our fuse, these bullies resort to blaming us for being overly-sensitive.

Chances are, the way these big-mouths treat us, is the way they treat countless others. If they could just step outside and see themselves as others see them, they would be mortified, but something seems to prevent them from doing that. They have to be the only one in the room that is right and in control.

While big-mouth’s think they’re being helpful by offering unsolicited criticism or advice, we see it as dominance and disrespect. No one wants to live under the thumb of this type of person. So how do we deal with them?

  • Limit our time. We can set boundaries such as the number of hours or locations we will be near them. We can reduce or eliminate email or telephone exchanges, meet in neutral locations that we can leave if necessary, only meet them if others are with us—generally limit conversation and encounters with them. (Like a dog protecting its turf, we will be out-matched while on the big-mouth’s turf, so we should be vigil when we are.)

Watch Your Time

  • Limit the amount of time they are in our domain. Never should we give big-mouths a key to our house or office, or welcome them for lengthy periods of time under our roof. During a visit, we can focus on activities where conversation, opinions and opportunity for criticism are minimized. We can take them out, or arrange for another person to take over entertaining them, to give ourselves a break.
  • Keep information to ourselves. Offering too much information, gives more ammunition for a big-mouth to shoot us down. It’s unfortunate that big-mouths miss much about us because we have to edit ourselves
  • Keep opinions to a minimum. Be prepared, that if we do have an opinion and express it, we may get seven back from the big-mouth, telling us why ours is wrong. Don’t walk into a trap!
  • Compliment them. There’s nothing a narcissists like more, than to feel important and liked. If we can put then in a good mood, they might decide not to attack. Look for something we have in common and comment about something good they do.
  • Listen. When sharing our point of view doesn’t work, or when it is thrown back in our face, we learn it is better to say nothing. If we instead, listen to the big-mouth’s banter for as long as we can (without exploding), nodding every now and then, we give her what she wants—an audience. Listening doesn’t give big-mouths something to fight about. We have to just make sure we don’t absorb the garbage and stress unknowingly being dumped on us.
  • Use tactical responses. When big-mouths suggest something to us, we can respond by saying “that’s an interesting idea” and that we’ll think about it. We don’t have to take the advice at all (unless it’s good). We can later come back and say, “I thought about what you said, and I won’t be doing it, but it did help me make decisions about what I do want to do.
every office has a loud mouth

every office has a loud mouth

  • Always come up smelling like a rose. It might help if we can see the big-mouth as a “special needs” person, who is not worth raising our blood pressure over. Being a peacemaker is much better than being a fighter.
  • Take simple shots. Rather than copying the long-winded argumentative opinions big-mouths throw our way, we can toss out strategic comments that show we do know a thing or two. Simple shots are also effective in change the subject and doing damage control.
  • Take a break. It may become necessary to leave the room when a big-mouth personality gets under our skin. We can excuse ourselves to the washroom, make a telephone call, run an errand, go for a walk, etc. Going out for a walk or getting fresh air can help relieve the pressure that’s been building up beneath us, providing stress relief as we release endorphins. (Don’t worry about leaving a big-mouth alone, she will know only too well how to take care of herself.)
  • We usually can’t change the behaviour of big-mouths, but we can change the way we deal with them. If we look for nuggets of truth in what they say, we may actually learn something from them.
  • In most cases big-mouths are bombastic because they want to feel needed. They want to “help”, even if we don’t ask for it. By making others look bad, big-mouths make themselves feel good. They are stuck in a desperate circle of constantly trying to justify their worth with an inflated sense of self.
  • Unfortunately, all the good tactics in the world can leave us feeling like a doormat. We shouldn’t be afraid to defend ourselves, but unfortunately with these people it’s hardly worth the effort. Showing we are unaffected by the big-mouth’s blather, might give them a powerful message.
  • Whatever we do, it’s important to look after ourselves, our family, our mental health and our stress levels. We don’t need to become an on-going punching bag for a big-mouth know-it-all. If the relationship is excessively toxic, it is better to distance ourselves or terminate the relationship.

 

Comments

Sillyheart on June 06, 2018:

I live across from one of these "loud mouths" in my apartment building. She gossips and makes fun of everyone. She's one of these loud mouths that figures if no one can see her, she makes sure that you can hear her. My mother and I joke that she has "Look At Me" disease. I really think she didn't get enough attention as a child or something. Unfortunately, I can't get away from her because I can't afford to move. What do you do in this situation?

cvi on February 19, 2018:

WOW!! Recently got transferred and joined under one of these maniacs! The female, despite being 30 years elder to me, is most comfortable being utterly unreasonable, nonsensical and-need i say-sinister!!! After one of those many encounters, today, I was searching for a remedy to calm my nerves, and thanks to you, this article was just what I was looking for! Also, I feel comforted knowing I am not the only one tolerating such a sorry excuse for humanity on everyday basis :) I'm going to print this article out and paste it in my room to look up to whenever I feel the way I did 15min back, thanks again! :)

peachy from Home Sweet Home on October 19, 2014:

yes, we can't change the behavior of loud mouth but we can prevent them from doing so

Aceblogs from India on October 15, 2011:

My current boss is like this only . Voted up . Nice hub

Beege215e on January 11, 2011:

I have found a fine line that I will not allow the big mouth to cross, and should they try, I look them straight in the eye and quote Hubert Humphrey when he said

"you're right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously". then I smile and walk away.

HackTheSocialCode on October 15, 2010:

Or more simply, to deal with loudmouths, just be very calm and content around them. They'll look stupid in comparison, and realize it. And if they go on a rampage, just respond with a breezy, terse comment. Nothing like THAT to make them feel like a raging lunatic. :P

-Jessy

www.HackTheSocialCode.com (Unwritten social rules EXPLAINED.)

Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on April 13, 2010:

Great article. I especially liked the "special needs" angle. I think the kindergarten teacher approach may help--"Let's use our quiet voice, ok?" =:)

pmccray from Utah on April 12, 2010:

LOL LOL; I had a family member that was over baring and refuse to allow me to be an adult and conduct my life as I see fit. After taking this abuse for over 30 years I finally distanced myself from this person for a almost two years and she finally got the message. My mother and I made up at my younger brother's funeral, yes life is to short to keep up this type of anger, but some just don't get it. This type of personality is the same as the loud mouth know it all. Awesome Hub .. peace my friend.

Fierce Manson (author) from Atlanta on April 12, 2010:

Hi Ictodd, that is the amazing part they do speak loud, and my insides are going to pieces from embarrassment. I have a close friend who has a very loud voice, and I have to constantly tell him in public not so loud I can hear you.

Linda Todd from Charleston on April 11, 2010:

Very nicely said. It is true there is always one usually. And when they speak everybody can hear what they have to say as they could care less how they embarrass another soul.

Thanks for sharing

Andrew from Italy on April 11, 2010:

Very good advices, and well explained. And the picture of the zebra is simply wonderful. Rated up and stumbled.

And thanks.:)

Sage Williams on April 10, 2010:

Awesome hub, with some really great advice. I have known a few loud mouths in my time.

Good luck with your 30 day challenge.

Sage

Fierce Manson (author) from Atlanta on April 09, 2010:

LOL, I have had my share of bosses like that as well.

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on April 09, 2010:

You described a former boss. Nice hub.