Excuse Me While I Interrupt
There are good interruptions. Such as: “We interrupt this commercial to give you great news.” Or when the bleeding of a wound is interrupted by the wound being staunched – a life-saving interruption. But many interruptions are just plain rude. And while rude is rarely good, it’s even worse when directed at our spouse – the other half of our life team.
Here are some web definitions for ‘interrupt:’
- to prevent or disturb
- to barge in (on)
- to hinder continuity
- to cut in (on)
Whether physically or verbally, would we appreciate someone barging in on us, cutting in on us, preventing or disturbing us, or hindering the continuity of what we are saying or doing? I’ve actually heard people say: “I quietly interrupted him. . . ” If we use one of the alternative expressions, does that even make sense? Can one ‘quietly’ barge in on someone? Is it okay to ‘quietly disturb’ or ‘quietly hinder someone’s continuity?’
Interrupting people while they are talking is generally rude. It doesn’t matter what our intention is. Whether it’s just a bad habit from lack of focus on the other, we assume we know what the other’s point is, or we’re just anxious to get to our own point, the end result is disrespect. It’s a way of demonstrating to the other that you don’t care about what they have to say because clearly whatever you have to say is more important. That’s a hurtful message to send your spouse.
And it’s not just interruption during a conversation that can be offensive. Do you ever bellow a question to your spouse from a different room – totally oblivious to what they may be doing? And then get self-righteously annoyed because you don’t get an immediate response? Because the question we are asking is obviously more important than our mate’s train of thought on whatever they’re writing, reading, or watching, right?
We’re not talking about having to wait through a movie marathon to ask a question or waiting until they finish a book to share a funny anecdote from our day. We’re just talking about being a little more considerate toward our spouse. Can the question wait until a commercial? Will the anecdote lose any of its humor if we let our mate enjoy a little winding-down time with the newspaper? If, like me, you believe the likelihood of actually remembering what you intended to say is drastically reduced by every passing minute, write it down and put it in a spot where you can’t help but see it later.
One solution for breaking the habit of interrupting during conversation? Have a prearranged code word you can say to the other when interrupted. A silly word like ‘scallywag’ or ‘bubbliscious’ so one smiles when it’s said instead of feeling admonished. An even better solution? Focus on listening to what the other is saying. It just might change the response you were planning to make!
Related post you may find of interest: Laudable Listening; Introverted, But Not Shy – Does Your Mate Need Space?