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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Interrupting

To all you who thought this would be a nicey-nice blog, my apologies, because I do have a bee in my bonnet. I think I should use this blog to publicly confess one of my sharper rough edges, namely interrupting. Let me apologize to all who know me for this glaring fault - well, you'd say it's a fault if you're a non-interrupter type. For once and for all, I'm truly sorry.

I must also say I totally cannot understand you non-interrupters. Either you have tonnes of self-control or you are passionless. How do you do it? My way is to talk until someone else jumps in, and jump in when I disagree! If the rules of conversation don't allow for interrupting then conversations end up looking like high school debate team scenarios. Now, when people interrupt me, I am not bothered, judging or angry. I don't take it personally. I am not offended. To me, that is dialogue.

What am I missing here? Please, if you are a non-interrupter, help me understand! And please know I DO mean well if I interrupt. This is what I DON'T mean by interrupting (but may be your wrong interpretation of my motives):
I do not mean:
1. That your thoughts are less important than mine.
2. That I don't like you.
3. That I don't respect you.
4. That I don't want to hear you.
5. That I think I'm better than you.

Maybe at the root of this is how I view silence. It has taken me a long time to figure out that not everyone interprets silence as agreement. It really fires me up if I hear something I really disagree with. If it's the radio I'll usually yell back, "You're wrong!" or switch it off. That's not intolerance - it's disagreement and irritation. Maybe I AM a kid stuck in an adult body because kids can't stand someone saying things that aren't true.

For example, one time Priscilla was crying hysterically. "Why are you crying Priscilla?" I asked. "Because Caleb said I owe him a million dollars and I don't have that much money!" For her, saying something made it so, and it traumatized her.

I guess I haven't entirely grown out of this stage of juvenile thinking. So please, forgive me.

And I'll work on not interrupting. So much.

11 comments:

  1. i'm an interupter... mostly because i'll forget if i wait till they're done. I only find interupting rude when it has nothing to do with the conversation.

    ivy

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  2. Hello Sarah--I'm laughing out loud. This is good stuff. Fun!

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  3. Thank you for your comments - it warms my heart. At least in writing, I have the floor entirely and cannot be interrupted or interrupt. Maybe it is to forever be my best means of communication!

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  4. Many of my most favorite and satisfying conversations happen with friends as we interrupt each other - ended up nowhere close to where we began - and having a fabulous time doing it!

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  5. "It's worth asking yourself whether you REALLY do care about other people's opinions, if you are willing to talk until they force you to stop!" This was the response of my non-interrupter family member.

    I have been confused by and even intensely frustrate at, the non-interrupter people also! That is, until I experienced some people who really do a serious level of talking and interrupting! As interactive as I am, I do realize that they do not (appear to) have any interest whatsoever in what I have to say. There seems to come a point where we really have been doing ALL the talking for so long, that we no longer value others input enough to really listen and learn! Experiencing talkers who talk MUCH more than I do, is when I managed to start to understand what my non-interrupter friends and family feel and experience from me! It's all in what you compare it to, I guess!

    Too often I assume the has said what they planned to say, but I am assuming wrongly! I respond to something they've said, not realizing that I'm cutting them off in the middle of what they were trying to say. That causes them, understandably, to feel that what they were trying to say, is not important to me! Many times I never do hear what they were actually trying to say, because they just give up on trying! They get interrupted too much!

    I used to take personally, their silences and unwillingness to talk with me! Concluding that they obviously don't love me enough to talk with me about what's on their heart! I've been discovering that my interrupting may be part of the real cause of that effect, (as well as my mean and negative way of responding to my belief that they really don't care about being in a close relationship with me!)

    My children have been helping me grasp and comprehend some of these things, and now my husband is helping me also! "Speaking the truth in love" to me. Well, not always in love, but speaking the truth spells love to me, much more than those silences that scream, "I reject you!"

    One thing, I think I've discovered, is that for many people communicating is a scary thing. They feel very fearful and intimidated by us "talkers", who don't mind, what we think of as "friendly debates"! They think of it as arguing and fighting and something to be avoided at all costs! (And the cost is great, it seems to me!)

    But, fear is very real also, and is therefore another good reason, for us talkers to surrender to God's way, and "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger..." There really is SOoooo much value in that!

    Interrupting surely does violate the "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger..." wisdom of God's word to us, doesn't it? I am too quick to speak way too often! It's also been dawning on me how VERY damaging it is to be "Quick to speak" inside my own head, to myself, rather than to REALLY be quick to listen well and seek to understand the other person!

    SO many relational problems, misunderstandings, anger, bitterness, hurt, damage is done by my/our lack of LISTENING!

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  6. I appreciate your input. Maybe I'll put a part 2 on interrupting as you raise some valid questions!

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  7. Another input from a non-interrupter person.

    "It depends on what kind of conversation you are in. If you are in light-hearted banter, the interactive interrupting works fine! But, if you are in a serious conversation like trying to work out a problem, there need to be some rules, law and order to the way you go about it." I'm not sure that I'm quoting them accurately here, but this input did seem like a good thought for us "talkers" to consider.

    Thanks, Sarah, for your courage and authenticity in stepping up and asking, or talking about the kinds of questions so many of us wrestle with, and often remain clueless about! Or, even embittered because of our misunderstandings and ignorance!

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  8. Listening well, seems to be a powerful way in which we PROVE to someone that we care about them, we are not just "saying" that we do!

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  9. I am not only a non interrupter but a non talker! This may sound strange, but what I mean is that it takes a lot for me to build up to getting out something I want to say and then if I've said it, I hate to repeat it. I don't really even like telling stories over and over again. In my mind I think "I've already verbalised this, that is enough" even though a new person hasn't heard the story yet! As you can imagine, I'm a terrible story teller!! Why am I like this... I'm not really sure and am still figuring it out, but I do feel it has served me well as I am a good listener.

    BUT, of course the down side of this is that I HATE being interrupted!! Because I have to put a lot of effort into speaking and only really speak when I have something to say, I want to know that others take that seriously and will listen to what I have to say. When I get interrupted I really do feel like the other person just doesn't value what I have to say. Of course as I have gotten older I have learned to not be so concerned about this. If it is someone who is close I will tell them "DONT interrupt me, I'm not finished!!". If I am not close to the person, I will either just stop talking and get out of the conversation as quickly as possible or If I am passionate about what I am saying I will hold my ground and speak up. But, it is usually the former. I think it is a self esteem thing as well. It makes me think "I must not be worth listening to" so I stop talking.

    I've said enough! Just a little bit from a non interrupter!!

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  10. oh my, I'm in over my head. I really did open a can of worms. Hmmm, lots to think about here.

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  11. Thanks, Priscilla, Sooooooo much for taking the time to share how you feel and think! That was VERY helpful to me. My husband doesn't talk much at all and I've often interpreted that to mean I'm not valuable enough to him, for him to open up and share with me. But your helpful input gives me something to consider. I think my resentful responses towards him, sent him negative "messages" and have helped keep him shut down and silent, although he is trying to open up more, I think!

    Thank you, again, for what you took the time and effort to share!

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