Q: Your friend or significant other is talking during a movie or TV show you really want to focus on. How should you go about telling him or her to stop?
When someone is talking during a performance of any kind, it's rude. If he or she is sitting next to you, say, "Let's hold until an intermission or commercial." Say it in a way that is polite and assertive.
Unfortunately, if need be, you won't want the person to attend things with you in the future. You can't change his or her opinion and you know for next time that this is expected with that person.
However, these are your friends; you can approach them when they get disruptive.
When people get together, you can't expect them to be quiet the whole time. But, if the majority wants to be quiet and the person talking is standing out, you will have to decide if it's worth attending events with that person or leaving him or her behind.
— Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert and author of "Modern Etiquette for a Better Life"
Before you even start to approach the situation, don't take what the person is doing personally. He or she may not know that it's something that bothers you.
There are three key things that you want to remember as you communicate with this person.
First, don't dismiss the person but validate him or her. Use "I" statements like, "I get upset when you talk during the show," or "I love this show, let's finish it before we talk," not "you" statements like "you can't talk."
Second, remember to find time afterward to talk to that person. You understand his or her need to tell you things, but you are also allowing yourself to enjoy what you need.
Third, do not use "always" or "never" statements. "You're always talking when 'Grey's Anatomy' is on," or "you never let us watch this" will make the person defensive, making a middle ground harder to find. Sometimes I encourage people to say something positive before giving an explanation. Statements are heard in a better light when we hear something positive first.
Terri Orbuch is a professor at Oakland University and author of "5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great"