Last week, we discussed the importance of not interrupting others. But sometimes an interruption can actually enhance a conversation.
What you don’t want to do with an interruption is cut someone short or derail what they are trying to express.
So when you do need to interrupt, do so in a way that pushes their comments forward rather than aside.
If someone is talking at length, it sometimes helps to interrupt so that they don’t feel like they are talking to themselves. It’s possible in a conversation to be physically there yet not be there mentally. So demonstrate you are with them by commenting on what they are talking about. It will encourage them to keep talking about it.
If someone is discussing something complicated, ask clarifying questions so that you can keep up. If you start not understanding things, it often gets worse and you end up nodding along with no idea what the other is talking about. An interruption will help you keep up.
This is often necessary. When people explain things, they know what they are talking about so they may not notice that they haven’t explained something properly. Or perhaps you simply didn’t pick up on a point they made.
Occasionally, we need to interrupt because someone is taking a conversation down a detrimental path.
When someone raises empty gossip, stop them in their tracks to indicate you aren’t interested. Gossip is often seen as harmless when it can be damaging. If you are a good person or good at conversation, you shouldn’t need to partake in gossip. So when gossip starts, interrupt to cut it off & prove you are above it.
When someone is simply being racist or sexist, interrupt them to show that you won’t indulge it. We can hear people out when they are expressing a different opinion, and sometimes that difference of opinion will challenge what we believe is good taste. But if someone is simply expressing meritless bigoted comments, cut them off and show them that their comments are unacceptable.
Interrupting is a fine art, and appropriate in moderation & when warranted.