Dear Blake,

I have a friend who talks nonstop. Honestly, I can put the phone down and go make a cup of tea, and she’ll still be talking when I get back. I don’t think she even takes a breath. I want to tell her she sometimes needs to ask questions or seek the opinions of others. How can I do this without hurting her feelings?

She has many good qualities. She’s knowledgeable on many topics, she’s artistic and she’s a good cook. She is just exhausting to be around. I feel bad for her and her husband. Her children are good, productive citizens. But man, oh man, I dread getting a call from her. Advice?

Signed, Penelope
From Orlando, Florida

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

Dear Penelope,

It sounds like you can’t take much more from motor mouth. Well, there are somethings you can do… other than you praying that she gets a severe case of lockjaw. Here are some other ideas. The next time she starts babbling when you’re on the phone with her, eat foods that has continual sounds that will irritate her, like potato chips or maybe some Captain Crunch. Or, because she never allows her gums to rest, you should do the same thing to her during the phone calls. Start by reading out loud entire Shakespeare plays, and try to speak with a lousy British accent. Or this idea. Have a secret meeting with her husband and kids, and ask them what do they do when she begins her chattering. My guess is, he uses earplugs and he gives his kids sleeping pills. And give this final suggestion some serious consideration. When she gets on a roll and speaks nonstop for more than five minutes, tell her that your phone is defective, and to repeat everything she said. My guess is, either she’ll stop talking for so long, or she’ll buy you a new phone so you don’t miss a word. Either way, you come out a winner. I hope this helps.