Tips for Dealing with Close Talkers

Most people value their personal space. No matter how social you may be, you still like some area around you when you are talking to someone. Close talkers don’t seem to be bothered by this. They stand too close, and often insist on speaking to you by getting within inches of your face. They may be doing this unconsciously, or even because they can’t hear very well, but whatever the reason, it can be annoying.

1. If you are approached by someone that habitually gets in your face while talking, try and put something, or someone, between you and them. Stand behind a chair, table or desk. If you are carrying something, like a package, or purse, keep it in front of you. If all else fails, fold your arms in front of you.

2. Step back, or to the side when they start to talk, or turn your body to the side, and divert your eyes. It may seem rude, but concentrate on something else in the room, and appear to be looking at something other than their face.

3. Mention that it seems warm and stuffy in the room, and that you need some air. Motion with your hand in front of you, and be animated. When you are waving your hands around or shifting position, they may find that it’s better to step out of the way rather than get hit.

4. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Get right back in their face. Move your face closer to theirs and make direct contact with their eyes. This may very well make them uncomfortable enough to back away.

5. Speak louder. Try raising your voice to an uncomfortable level. If they mention this, explain to them that you thought that perhaps they were having trouble hearing you since they were standing so close.

6. Offer them a breath mint. They might not actually need it, but it will give them reason to wonder why you offered them one, and maybe leave them a little self conscious about standing so close.

7. If subtleness fails, just come right out and tell them that it is extremely uncomfortable for you to speak to someone when they are standing so close. That you need your space and cannot focus your eyes at such close range. People who constantly do this might not actually be aware of why people avoid talking to them, so you may be doing them a favor.