Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

timeout-3373341_1280Do you know someone who takes forever to answer a simple question? It takes a long time for that person to get to the point and you just want to interrupt and quote Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”Why do some people provide such unedited descriptions? Well, it may be that they are an introvert. And they have a perspective on what it means to be interrupted.

Introverts think a long time before they speak. They give careful thought to what they want to say. When they get ready to stay something, they don’t want to be interrupted. They feel their information is important and want to be heard. Extraverts, on the other, think as they speak. Interruptions are part of the on-going process of talking things out. An extrovert may think nothing of being interrupted.

So interruptions can mean different things to different people . If you are talking and someone interrupts, it might be because she is enthusiastic about the conversation or has an idea. Maybe, there is little time to deal with an issue, so an interruption is simply a way to get to the point before time runs out. Other times, interruptions can be rude and cut a person off.

Introverted or extroverted, how do you deal with interruptions? One approach is to allow the interruption, but make sure you come back to the point you were trying to make. That isn’t always easy because interruptions often make us loose our train of thought. Another tactic is not to pause and speak fast. That way, interruptions are more difficult because there isn’t space to make the interruption. Or you could try the direct approach– stop the conversation and ask not to be interrupted. No one may know that interruptions bother you if you don’t say anything. You can say, “Please allow me to finish my thought”or “I would like you to listen before you say anything,”

It also helps to consider the type of family in which you were raised. For example, my family interrupted each other all the time. But this was a sign of openness and friendliness. No one thought it was a problem and yes, we are extroverts. But put us with a group of introverts and they may think we rude. It’s all in what interruptions mean based on your experiences. So if you are struggling with interruptions, have a conversation about what it means when you are interrupted and ask that person how it was in their family growing up.

The best advice is to roll with it even when you feel uncomfortable unless it is a persistent pattern that is preventing you from conveying your thoughts. There are times to just let it go or maybe keep talking if you need to finish your point. Maybe accept the interruption as a contribution to whatever is happening and being discussed. Remember, when people are highly engaged, they interrupt due to excitement and ideas. Then ask, are you taking too long to make you point? Do you have trouble editing and are providing to many details to get to a point? If the problem is you, work on saying things in a more concise way.

Interruptions involve interpersonal relationships. So the bottom line is to understand why it happens and work it out if it becomes a problem. Don’t sit and simmer–maybe interrupt and talk it out!

 

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