workplace-1245776_1280“Why is everyone interrupting each other at the dinner table? “This was my husband’s comment at his first holiday with my loud and opinionated family. Yes, we talk over each other and have lively conversation. But I didn’t even noticed because it was standard fare in my home. We love to debate, challenge each other, and yes…interrupt each other. In my family, interrupting was a sign of friendliness and openness. It meant you were engaged in the conversation.

But not everyone is comfortable with this practice and some consider it rude. Interrupters can be considered annoying, especially if you are an introvert. Introverts think a long time before they speak. When they get ready to stay something, they don’t want to be interrupted because they feel their information is important and they want to be heard.

So, if you are someone who is interrupted, here are a few things you can do to stop this from happening more often:

  • Don’t take too long to get to your point. Interruptions can happen when people become impatient with you taking too much time to make a point. Are you giving too many details, wandering off point and frustrating the person who is trying to listen? If so, you may want to work on being more concise.
  • Interrupt the interrupter and say something like, “I’d like to finish my point before you comment.” Most times, a simple statement like this will work to cue the interrupter to stop.
  • Ask yourself, does this happen often with a number of people? If the answer is, yes, try to identify why this is happening. Do you need to be more assertive, more concise or speak up? When it is a common pattern, it may point to a need to change your behavior.

Now if you are the one who interrupts, consider being more aware of how often you interrupt and try not to do it. Sit back, listen and wait for a chance to add your comments. If you know the person is upset by the interrupting, apologize to the person and tell them to go ahead and talk.

Awareness of your own behavior will help you put on the breaks. More importantly, check with the person to see if this is causing a problem. Based on their family background and experiences, interrupting may or may not be a problem. Regardless as to how we feel about being interrupted, most of us could certainly  practice better listening.


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