Consider Pardoning That Interruption!

Consider Pardoning That Interruption!

Some people just hate being interrupted.

They may react angrily, making pointed statements such as, “I’M NOT FINISHED YET!!” Or, they may raise their voice to talk over the interrupter. There are also those who get irate but just passive-aggressively stop responding.

If this applies to you, a little perspective might help.

In a perfect world, we’d all get the chance to fully express what we have to say.

But of course, that is not the way it really goes.

So, the next time someone interrupts you, it may help to remember that good conversations need to have a certain healthy give and take.

It may also be of interest to know that in very olden time movies, actors did not ‘step on’ each other’s lines.

And boy, does the dialog in those films sound stilted and unnatural now!

Therefore, writers and directors, trying to make what performers say to one another sound more natural, turned the actors into interrupting cows.

Additionally, being interrupted is not (necessarily) a sign of disrespect for what you have to say. I mean it could be, but why jump to such a negative conclusion? So, try not to take being interrupted so personally.

To the contrary, getting interrupted might even show how much someone is engaged and interested in what you’re saying.

Besides, is civilization going to rise or fall on your conveying every pearl of wisdom on your tongue? ... Really?

Certainly, some folks react so strongly to being interrupted out of fear of losing their train of thought and forgetting what they were about to say.

Again, would this be the end of civilization as we know it? Anyway, even if we momentarily forget, most of the time what we wanted to say soon pops back into our mind. If it doesn’t, it might not have been all that important in the first place.

Historically, Einstein started to say E=m ... and one of his colleagues interrupted him to ask where he wanted to get lunch. He dealt with it and eventually recalled the “c2” part. Ok, just made that one up.

Perfectionism is another reason for experiencing excessive distress from being interrupted. Individuals with this characteristic often have an “urge to complete.” So, being left hanging with an incomplete sentence is quite abhorrent to them.

Actually, if you have this issue, it’s more helpful to work on accepting interruptions rather than trying to control how the people who you speak with behave, which, incidentally, is hardly the way to keep friends.

By the way, if you find yourself getting interrupted a lot, before you over-react, make sure it’s not because you monopolize conversations. Ironically, sometimes the very people who despise getting interrupted the most are the same people who never give others a chance to speak!

Now, I’m not saying excessive interrupters get a hall pass. Without a doubt, too much interrupting may actually be rude or condescending.

Nor am I suggesting that being appropriately assertive if someone interrupts you all the time is out of line.

However, even if it’s annoying, being interrupted is not a crime! Unless, of course, you interrupt a judge in a courtroom!

Full disclosure: I can occasionally be an interrupter myself and I’m working on it.

But if I happen to interrupt you, try and see it as an opportunity to be patient and please don’t judge me too harshly.

In return, if you interrupt me, I’ll do my best not to over-react.

Finally, let’s be honest. Can you truly say that you’ve never interrupted anyone? Not ever?


Maybe we can all make the world a bit more civil by having some compassion for interrupters, just as we would want them to have the same for us when, inevitably, we interrupt too.


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