When Someone Constantly Interrupts
When someone you love interrupts you a lot, it can be extremely
frustrating. Try these steps:
1. Sit down together and define "interruption" and
"interjection". Sometimes it's necessary to interject something while
somebody else is talking. To cut somebody off any other time is interrupting and
is rude. In a calm moment (not in the middle of a discussion about something
else), make sure that everybody agrees on when it's necessary to interject. Consider
all other "butting in" to be interruption.
To get you started, the following things are usually considered necessary
a. emergency situations. ("Stop! That's a red light!")
b. quick comments on the scenery.
c. quick greetings to passersby.
d. a quick "Me too."
e. clarifications. If you do not understand what your conversational partner is
talking about, it's really important to stop him or her and ask right away. If
you pretend to understand, you will have to do it forever, and, over time, it
gets more likely that your deception will be found out.
f. corrections. If you ask one question and your conversational partner starts
answering a different question, it's fair for you to save time by politely stopping him
or her and re-asking the question.
2. During conversations, admit your own interruptions, with a quick
"Oops!" or "Sorry!" On the other hand, defend your
interjections -- gently.
3. When you are interrupted, gently say, "Wait!" or "I'm not
finished." On the other hand, be very careful to reward necessary
interjections with an, "I'm glad you told me that," or at least with a
4. You will know that things are getting better when you and the ones you love
start getting into lively "interjection vs. interruption" discussions.
Your loved ones' willingness to debate this with you shows that they care at
least a little whether they interrupt or not. If you continue to be a good sport
who easily agrees on what fits into which category, pretty soon they should
start correcting themselves when they stray into the interruption
Next Memo: What
She Never Told You
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Dr. Bradt at firstname.lastname@example.org