One thing in my life that has driven me to the brink of screaming bloody murder is when someone interrupts me while I speak. This is one reason I dislike social functions so much. For me, indulging in conversation at a party is like trying to put a leash on air.
I’m not sure why people think the practice of interrupting someone in mid-sentence is all right. Maybe they believe what they have to say is more important than what I’m expressing. Maybe they can’t hear me. Maybe I’m invisible. But when it happens, a red hot arrow shoots through my blood and impacts every cell in my body.
Here’s the thing. I am not much of a conversationalist. I prefer to listen and learn rather than spout. In my silences, I form thoughts and opinions which I am often reluctant to contribute for a variety of reasons. When I do finally choose to actively participate in, or initiate, a conversation, it’s not just to blabber about the first thing that pops into my brain. I am sharing something that means something to me.
When I’m talking and someone blurts, “Oh, look at that bluejay in the tree across the street!” Or, “I need to call my husband.” Or, “My goodness, isn’t the rain nice?” Or, “I have an overdue library book.” Or, “Oh, that reminds me of something… etc.”, not only do I lose my train of thought (which alone annoys me to no end) but being cut off tells me that whatever I was offering was worthless, meaningless, and boring. It hurts my feelings; it makes me angry. I also find that people often hijack the subject, take over the conversation and leave whatever I had to contribute hanging loose and undone like a half-hung shirt on the clothesline.
When I am cut off more than two or three times within five minutes, I just stop talking. I tell myself, “They aren’t listening anyway, so why waste my breath?”
Maybe this happens to you. Or, maybe you’re on the other side. Are you a chronic interrupter? If you have something to say, can you contain it, or must it come spewing from your lips in the middle of someone else’s sentence?
If people clam up and walk away from you, it might be that you aren’t allowing them to share what’s on their minds. If they are like me, interruptions are like a knife to the heart.
So, if you value these friends and others, stop interrupting them. For once in your life, just be quiet and listen. That voice you hear? Maybe it’s mine.