Stop Interrupting Me!

How Daddy Taught Us to Interrupt

The supper table was Daddy’s pulpit. This is where we had his attention if only for an hour a day and we fought like cats and dogs to keep him engaged in our stories. And unlike a dog fighting trainer he sicced us on each other in a playful way. Daddy held court while Mama served dinner and the daughters ran back and forth to the kitchen to help her. In the meantime, the day’s stories would line up in our mouths like shoppers lined up at the store on the day after Thanksgiving – jockeying to get there first. And as we would spew out the first lines of the story he’d interrupt saying ‘come on, come on, spit it out or someone else will take your turn’. And someone else would start their story and…you get the picture?

So what comes first, being impulsive by nature or being trained to be impulsive? Daddy’s little game may have taught us to be rude, too because I haven’t yet met someone who likes interruption. A lifetime goes by and the three sisters all interrupt just as trained. What are the reasons to keep up the game? By now the origins are almost lost in the mist but the behavior stays the same. At any point in time, one of them interrupts to shut the others up, one to change their opinions and one to communicate something, desperately attempting the impossible.

And in the end, there is silence and no one is listening.

How to be Heard

Why do you interrupt? Are you afraid you’ll forget whatever is on the tip of your tongue while you have to wait your turn? So you want to control the show? Shall we say you’re impulsive? Is that enough of a reason to forget your manners? What did your daddy teach you?

Settle your mind while engaged in conversation. Start to trust that you will be heard especially if you’re silent until they’re through (and some people take a really long time to finish). Whatever you have to say will be heard by the people who should hear you, though not necessarily the ones you want to listen. This distinction requires reflection on your part. Who really needs to hear you? Who do you need to be heard by?