Janet Walkow Christine Jacobs

Dealing with Page Hogs

…. People Who Take Up Too Much Space

There are people who will insert themselves onto various aspects of your life script, e.g., they want to be involved in whatever you’re doing, even if you don’t want or need their input. Rebecca had a college roommate, Roxie, who is a classic page hog. She had to comment and weigh in on everything, whether or not she was asked for her opinion. She eavesdropped on phone conversations, constantly bombarded Rebecca with text messages, stalked her on Facebook and pried into every detail of her life. It was annoying, distracting, draining and uncomfortable for Rebecca and her friends to be around Roxie. She managed to position herself to be included in all of their plans, but she page-hogged everyone and wasn’t fun to be around.

We all have experienced another type of page hog – friends, family and coworkers who think their advice is just what you need and take every opportunity to bombard you with their views.  Annie’s brother, Max, was always wanting something from Annie – advice, a quick $5 or to be fixed up with one of her friends. The problem was Max always thought that Annie wanted HIS advice and to be fixed up with his friends. Nothing could have been further from the truth, but Max was persistent. He gave Annie his opinion about everything, from what she wore to where she was going and with whom.  It’s not always easy to tell siblings they are being page hogs, but enough was enough. Annie was frustrated and didn’t know if there was a right way to handle the situation.

Setting Page Limits

What can you do about people like Roxie and Max? You may have to write your script around them. In other words, you need to create “page limits” for page hogs so they can’t encroach on your script. Many times it may involve venting with a friend or other tactics to minimize the impact. In extreme cases it may be necessary to confront the problem person and either renegotiate your relationship or eliminate the problem person from your cast of characters.

Janet Walkow is the Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer of the Drug Dynamics Institute at The University of Texas and a co-founder of Leading Women. Read her full bio.

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