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Stop Interrupting – It’s Blocking Your Listening Abilities

Updated: Mar 19

When you interrupt others, it’s not only rude, but it shows the world that you weren’t listening in the first place. People don’t appreciate being cut off when they are speaking. If you are someone who often interrupts others, it makes it difficult to show that you are listening to them.

We get into bad habits as kids that we often carry into adulthood. Our parents likely had similar habits and that is our first exposure to habits. Interrupting is one of those habits and it’s a big one. You probably hung out with a few friends who did it as well.

It takes a conscious effort to break the habit, especially when you are older. This is not to say you can’t break it. You just have been doing it for so long that it will take you more time to get out of the habit.

To start practicing, put yourself in learning mode. Think back to the last time you were learning something. You had little prior knowledge on the subject so you tended to listen more. There were no preconceived notions. When someone else is talking, try to learn as much as you can about who they are and what they are saying. Let them speak completely before speaking.

There are occasions in many conversations when you think the other person is finished, but they are only taking a small pause. You will undoubtedly interrupt them at this point. This is not out of rudeness, it’s just a missed cue. Just excuse yourself and move on. This will happen less with people who you know than with strangers.

It may be that you aren’t aware that you interrupt people. That’s possible. When you get into a habit, overtime, it’s just something you start to do naturally. However, think back to instances of people saying, “Excuse me, but I wasn’t finished talking.” It could be a variation on this phrase. If this has happened to you on several occasions, it’s a good chance that you interrupt others.

When you make that discovery, don’t beat yourself up about it. This is one of those habits others will forget when you turn yourself around. They probably won’t even think about the fact that you interrupted them before. If they do, your change will be welcome to them. You may revert to interrupting on occasion. But, make a conscious effort to curb this activity.

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