By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Life Coach in Communication and Consciousness
(March 4, 2020)
Have you ever experienced someone trampling on your words, interrupting you as you communicated a thought? When someone can’t wait until we’ve finished expressing your thought before they jump in with theirs, it can jar us!
People interrupt for many reasons. The “little me” (the self-absorbed part of us run by the ego) wants to appear smart (or important, valued, good enough, etc.). Maybe it feels impatient, so it interrupts to get on with the conversation. Or that “little me” may feel entitled to more air time than others.
Fear usually drives the “little me.” Insensitive to others, this fear sometimes bullies its way into a conversation and steals the show by interrupting.
Interruption has a negative effect on relationships. When someone interrupts us, we can feel emotionally violated. Interruption builds walls, which create anger and resentment. Who wants to spend time with people who block us from feeling heard?
We have choices about how to handle people who interrupt. We can say nothing and decrease our contact with the person. This choice often leaves us feeling incomplete.
We can address the interruption: “Excuse me. May I please finish what I was saying?”
We may want to go into more detail: “When you start talking and don’t let me finish, I feel angry (or disappointed or sad) because it doesn’t meet my need to be heard (or to complete my thought).” We can follow this with a request: “Would you please let me finish before you speak?”
Through stating our observation, feelings, needs and request (From Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg), we give a clear message that we expect respect.
If we think the person isn’t aware of her habit of jumping in, we can ask, “Are you aware you just interrupted me?” This question helps to make people aware. They will often apologize and give us the space to continue.
If we do the interrupting, for the sake of peaceful relationships, we can stop. We first engage our inner observer and watch ourselves, catching the behavior. When we make our unconscious habit conscious, we put ourselves into a position of choice.
I recommend we choose to build a bridge – a connection – through listening. If we forget to listen and break the connection by interrupting, admit it: “I’m sorry – I just interrupted you. Please continue what you were saying.” Catching ourselves and making it right rebuilds the connection and helps others feel heard.
In summary, let’s watch ourselves carefully to make sure we don’t interrupt. When others interrupt us, let’s make them aware they have done so and request they let us finish our thought.
Such bridge-building action 1) makes us a better listener, and 2) helps others develop into better listeners. Try it for yourself, and watch how you become more attractive to others!
Dr. Marta Adelsman is a Life Coach in Communication and Spiritual Consciousness. She works with people who want to know themselves and their purpose on the planet. If you are such a person, Dr. Marta will walk alongside you to support you to make spiritual principles practical and alive in your communication with others, with yourself, and in your life situations.
The tools Dr. Marta teaches help you to translate head knowledge of spirituality into compassionate, non-judgmental, life-affirming habits.
Visit her website, DrMartasMusings.com for more information.