FWP: People Who Interrupt When You’re Speaking
PROBLEM: What would you do with people who chronically interrupt? I have a friend who just can’t help himself and is always interrupting a conversation. No matter who’s talking, what the topic — no manners; he’s gotta jump in, talking over what someone else is saying. Any suggestions for how to shut this down with wit and grace?
LG: Oooooh… real talk: I’m sometimes one of the dreaded People Who Interrupt. I know it’s bad conversation etiquette, but I tend to do it most when I want to make a good impression and/or bond with a person. (Omg we’re SO on the same wavelength!) Which admittedly probably has the opposite effect… #awkward #powertothepeopleskills. I’d say handle with care if the person is insecure. Maybe something like: “Hey, you always have a lot of good thoughts, that’s why I’m sharing this with you, but just give me a sec to finish mine!”
Of course, there is a version of this in which the person is just a pompous ass. If that’s the vibe, then feel free to be more blunt. A “STFU, while I finish” will hopefully pierce the armor of those self-important interruptions to the conversation.
SB: I have this urge too! Knowing interrupting in a conversation is SO RUDE, but I still sometimes find it hard to hold back. If your friend has an impatient nature, like me, they just need a little help to cultivate the long-lost art of listening. Let them know in subtle ways that it’s more important to be interested than interesting. You might try to intervene when he is talking over someone else in order to help him notice his unappealing tendencies and stop interrupting.
(Not to get into a whole other discussion, but I feel like the interrupting issue is kind of a gendered one in many ways, but that’s a subject for another time.)
KB: I gotta admit, I do it too. Mostly when I’m excited. So maybe take it as a compliment: Interruptor Friend is so giddy to be chatting with you that he just can’t help himself. If he’s a good enough friend, this should be easy. “Dude, can you just let me finish?” delivered with a smile is the most direct, easy, and pleasant way to make your point.
Now, if it’s not a good friend, and he’s an annoying blowhard, then maybe a passive aggressive email forwarding an article about mansplaining would do the trick.
RK: Oops, I’m guilty of interrupting as well. Only because I am super awkward at conversations. Either way, I personally wouldn’t mind if someone asked me to let them finish politely or in a joking manner (and I am sure your friend wouldn’t either). Also, like everyone else said, we all do it and we know that we do it but sometimes we just need a nudge to stop a bad habit.
MM: Wow, looks like we’ve found our tribe! You’re talking to a serial interrupter here, also. But I usually do this because I am bursting with thoughts and opinions I am too impatient to hold inside, and my friends are a patient bunch, for the most bit. But on the occasion that someone has politely asked me to let them finish their sentence, I usually don’t mind. If that’s the case with your friend, I think it’s easy to gently address their habit of interrupting the conversation.