It’s been almost 2 years since my last Pet Peeve blog, and I’m sure you have been tossing and turning sleeplessly, wondering what else really gets under my skin. Well, wait no longer, put on your footie PJs and prepare for a blissful night of rest.
I hate to be interrupted.
News flash, right?
I mean, really, who DOES like to be interrupted? No one that I know.
Have you found yourself in a conversation, talking about a particular topic, telling someone a story, or making a thoughtful observation, only to be “talked over” by your alleged listener, who comments prematurely, offers her own take on the matter, and even hijacks the interaction completely, ruining your train of thought and causing you to feel belittled and unheard?
Yea, I thought so. Same.
It is utterly frustrating whenever it happens. When you converse with some people, doesn’t it feel like they are not listening to what you have to say, merely mentally composing their own response and comments with which to regale at the earliest possible opportunity? How rude.
And I don’t know which is worse, when it happens to you in a business setting or in a personal one.
How should the interrupted person respond? In the moment, or after? “Sorry, I was speaking, may I please finish my thought?” Or, “during our conversation when you interrupted me, it made me feel like my remarks were unimportant.” Do you worry about hurt feelings? Grumbling business associates? Appearing to be a pompous and self-important ass?
I don’t know the answer, but I’ve seen the questions in the daily Ask Amy column, so clearly I’m not the only person extremely bothered by this unhappy phenomenon.
Once piece of advice I will give, however, is to walk the talk. Do not interrupt others when they are speaking and always set a good example of what it looks like to be an engaged listener. Look the speaker directly in the eye, and make sure your body language shows you are paying attention. When the person talking comes to a stopping point, go one step further and instead of jumping right in with both feet offering your own superior take on the matter, ask some clarifying questions first, just to hit the point home that you were paying attention.
Finally, take the advice of Freddie Mercury: