Jim A.

Interrupting

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One of the habits other people have that really bother me is the habit of interrupting you when you're speaking. It happens alot with most of the people I work with or just run into.

Some people are simply occasional interruptors. And then there are the chronic ones, the ones who can't stand to listen to you long enough to hear you finish even a sentence, and working with these people is very frustrating and wastes alot of work-time, because eventually I have to repeat everything, usually more than once until I've been heard completely. What accounts for people like these? I've often wondered. I do have a sort of theory that there is a philosophic basis for it, that is, for the chronic interruptors: the idea that reality is in the mind. Why? Because if anything you say is in conflict with "their" reality, well, they simply mustn't allow you to speak; what you say might be a threat to some part or all of the "reality" in their mind. I've even "tested" a few people like this; when I've succeeded in steering the conversation to explicit philosophy, I've asked these people: "Do you believe reality is in or outside of the mind?" In each case, these people answered, after reflection, that reality was in the mind (one of them didn't have to reflect; he said it was "most definitely in the mind"). But that was just those people I asked; others might affirm the externality of reality, I don't know. Like I say, it's only a theory I have.

Anyone have any thoughts about the cause of this behavior?

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One of the habits other people have that really bother me is the habit of interrupting you when you're speaking. It happens alot with most of the people I work with or just run into.

Some people are simply occasional interruptors. And then there are the chronic ones, the ones who can't stand to listen to you long enough to hear you finish even a sentence, and working with these people is very frustrating and wastes alot of work-time, because eventually I have to repeat everything, usually more than once until I've been heard completely.

Being an occasional "chronic interrupter" myself, I can understand that.

What accounts for people like these?

As with any behavior, free will allows for many and various causes. To understand a particular person, ask him.

I've often wondered. I do have a sort of theory that there is a philosophic basis for it, that is, for the chronic interruptors: the idea that reality is in the mind. Why? Because if anything you say is in conflict with "their" reality, well, they simply mustn't allow you to speak; what you say might be a threat to some part or all of the "reality" in their mind. I've even "tested" a few people like this; when I've succeeded in steering the conversation to explicit philosophy, I've asked these people: "Do you believe reality is in or outside of the mind?" In each case, these people answered, after reflection, that reality was in the mind (one of them didn't have to reflect; he said it was "most definitely in the mind"). But that was just those people I asked; others might affirm the externality of reality, I don't know. Like I say, it's only a theory I have.

Asking a loaded question like that might have affected the answers too. You might try a friendly, "How come you just interrupted me? I find that so frustrating because ..."

In my own case, I sometimes interrupt because I am getting impatient with someone who is talking at me or lecturing me and ignoring my feedback and responses. Sometimes it is because they are rambling and I want them to focus and get to the point. Sometimes they have said something questionable and I want to get my objection on the record before they assume I agree. Other times, they have said something that triggers an insight or thought that I want to conceptualize or put into words before I lose it.

None of this, of course, has anything to do with subjectivism.

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You call yourself a "chronic interruptor", Betsy, but when I listened to you on the cruise interacting with other people I didn't see any evidence of that. A chronic interruptor, to me, is someone who just cannot restrain him- or herself from cutting in on someone in mid-sentence, and they do it constantly.

It really is maddening. Maybe the person just has to hear the sound of their own voice all the time, or has to always be the center of others' attention. It's like a neurosis.

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You call yourself a "chronic interruptor", Betsy, but when I listened to you on the cruise interacting with other people I didn't see any evidence of that. A chronic interruptor, to me, is someone who just cannot restrain him- or herself from cutting in on someone in mid-sentence, and they do it constantly.

It really is maddening. Maybe the person just has to hear the sound of their own voice all the time, or has to always be the center of others' attention. It's like a neurosis.

In the kind of person you're describing it's probably lack of self-esteem. For him, not to be getting attention is experienced as an un-valued not-existing state.

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If I may be so bold to piggy back here; I can't stand not being listened to. I realized a while back that people don't listen to my suggestions. I can give a suggestion that will save our bacon on a project. People act like they listen, then go off and do it their way and the project flops. This has been repeated over and over in my career. I don't understand it. I don't give advice very often, actually. It has gotten to the point where watching the team fail is some sort of sick entertainment for me.

Since I don't talk much in meetings, I'm rarely inturrupted. If I open my mouth people seem to want to hear what's going to come out. Then they listen to my suggestion and go off and fail trying it their way. ;)

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If I open my mouth people seem to want to hear what's going to come out. Then they listen to my suggestion and go off and fail trying it their way. ;)

In such situations, I can't assume people really heard me or agree with me so I ask questions to solicit feedback and solidify a committment. "Does my plan make sense?" "Is there anything I forgot?" "Do you agree with this?" "Can I count on you to do this?" "When should I come by to follow up?"

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(I am aware of the oldness of the thread. hahaha)

One of the habits other people have that really bother me is the habit of interrupting you when you're speaking. It happens alot with most of the people I work with or just run into.

Some people are simply occasional interruptors. And then there are the chronic ones, the ones who can't stand to listen to you long enough to hear you finish even a sentence, and working with these people is very frustrating and wastes alot of work-time, because eventually I have to repeat everything, usually more than once until I've been heard completely. What accounts for people like these? I've often wondered. I do have a sort of theory that there is a philosophic basis for it, that is, for the chronic interruptors: the idea that reality is in the mind. Why? Because if anything you say is in conflict with "their" reality, well, they simply mustn't allow you to speak; what you say might be a threat to some part or all of the "reality" in their mind. I've even "tested" a few people like this; when I've succeeded in steering the conversation to explicit philosophy, I've asked these people: "Do you believe reality is in or outside of the mind?" In each case, these people answered, after reflection, that reality was in the mind (one of them didn't have to reflect; he said it was "most definitely in the mind"). But that was just those people I asked; others might affirm the externality of reality, I don't know. Like I say, it's only a theory I have.

Anyone have any thoughts about the cause of this behavior?

I interrupt people constantly. When you deal with irrationalism on a regular conversational basis, especially when you want something, it will turn into a constant habit on your part.

In conversation, interruption is a superseding of the given context. It is only valid to supersede the context when both participants should find it beneficial. (When you are adding or directing the conversation in an important direction.) It is essential in flushing out premises, or any underlying idea, before it fades into the background. (It is quite helpful to remember that conversations are had only for a specific reason.)

If they are sharp, my advice would be to interrupt them back if they are getting off track.

If they aren't sharp, you might have to explain each step.

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