You hate being interrupted, but do you interrupt others?

Interrupting is obviously annoying and creates animosity.

Conversations are a great tool for feeling valued & appreciated. People enjoy being able to express themselves and connect with someone else. It’s a form of validation.

But interrupting during a conversation will do the opposite. It makes the person frustrated because they aren’t being heard. The interrupter is forcefully asserting themselves over the speaker, even if this isn’t the conscious intention.

If someone is telling a story, you can sparingly ask questions as they go but don’t interject with your own story before they have finished telling theirs. Chances are their story is building up to some kind of punchline or interesting conclusion. To deviate from that because a detail reminds you of something that happened to you will devalue the story-telling experience.

If debating a different point of view, don’t interrupt while someone is making a point. To argue a point before they have finished making their point is not only disrespectful, it also means you are missing their point because you haven’t allowed them to make it. And this is more likely to turn a debate into an ugly argument. Media hosts are particularly guilty of interrupting their guests in interviews when discussing an issue.

If someone is getting something off their chest – apologising or telling you something that is really bothering them - listen to them. Don’t cut off their comments before they’ve expressed them. Chances are, it took some courage for them to speak to you about this. Reward that courage by letting them express what they need to. When they have finished, you can then tell them it was OK or not to worry about it. But don’t dismiss them before you’ve heard completely what they want to say.

And if you catch yourself interrupting, apologise and make sure you redirect the line of conversation back to what was being talked about, and ask the person you interrupted to keep talking about it.

Shut up, and let’s talk.