Don’t Interrupt, Please

I’ve had a life-long struggle of interrupting people I’m speaking with. I do this because I think I know what they will say, or I’m afraid I’ll forget what I want to say. This hasn’t improved with age, despite my best efforts to date. I’m quietly embarrassed when I behave this way, and I need to be a better person.

I need to say out loud to myself that there is no justification for this pattern of interrupting. There may be reasons but not excuses. I need and want to change. So here is my self-made plan.

The first step is to identify the problem. Check. Second, I need to be aware of when I do it. Check. I need to stop my interruption as soon as I am aware of it. No check here yet. So this is where I’ll start my change.

There are several key points in conversations that I become aware of my interrupting behaviour. Ideally, it will be before I open my mouth. However, I’ll start wherever I can. That will likely be well after my interruption, and I’ve stolen the flow of the conversation. As soon as I realize what I’ve done, I’ll interrupt myself, apologize, and ask the person to please continue with what they were saying. Easier said than done, but doable.

With this continual practice, I expect to move the apology closer to when I first interrupt. I have no timeframe. I have a commitment to myself and those I’m talking with to steadily improve.

My expectation is to reach the point that I’m stopping the interruption before I butt in. How should I deal with my two underlying reasons for my behaviour?

I will increase my confidence that I won’t forget what I wanted to say. If I forget, accept it may not have been that important or be confident it will come back to me later. Either way, the universe will be essentially unchanged.

I will also be respectful of others, and listen to what they are saying to be sure I understand them. They deserve and I need that that opportunity.

Please give this a bit of a think. Is there an annoying behaviour towards others that you’d like to change? If so, here are the steps I use to improve. Identify the problem. Be aware of when it is happening. Stop the behavior right away, despite embarrassment.

Trust me, others already know you are doing it to them!

Success is identified when you are aware before starting the behaviour and you don’t do the old pattern.

Good luck. Let me know how you do. I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave your comment.

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10 thoughts on “Don’t Interrupt, Please

  1. Ron Walmsley says:

    I do the same thing. I’m sure interrupting someone who is talking to me must be very annoying. I will take your advice.

    • glenn says:

      It’s a struggle every day, for me. I appreciate the patience of my friends but I thought it was time to own up and change.

  2. Jen says:

    Me too! Especially when the speaker ums and uhs while he gets his words together. I start filling in with my suggestions. I’m a family joke–“Stop guessing, Jen”– so I must do it alot.

  3. Patti+Dolman says:

    I can certainly identify because I am guilty too. Talking too much is my flaw and jumping in to quickly before someone finishes, yes I know I do this. Self-awareness is the first step and taking a deep breath and waiting is my next strategy.

  4. John Walmsley says:

    Hi Glenn, I have not been aware of you interrupting, Personally, I find it difficult to detect when there is a break in the conversation so that I can insert a comment, This I find frustrating.

  5. Mel says:

    How true it is! Listening first is much more important that thinking what I have to say is more important than what the other person is saying.

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