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The Problem with Interrupting People (And How to Stop)

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Do you cut in when your friends or family speak? People interrupt each other for different reasons. They might be desperate to have their say or think their point’s superior to anyone else’s.

Either way, there’s a problem with butting in when someone’s talking: it belittles them and signals disrespect.

It can be hard not to interrupt when you’ve knowledge to share. Sometimes you’re busting with enthusiasm, and if you don’t speak, you’ll explode. Well, that’s how you feel even if you won’t actually combust on the spot.

You’ve been on the receiving end though–who hasn’t–and understand you hate people talking over you. When someone interjects, your ego hurts. You feel small. No one wants to make anyone else feel that way, but how can you stop interrupting?

Mindful attention

Be mindful when you hold conversations. Focus on what’s said not what you want to say. Remember, others’ words are more fascinating than what you already know because they’re new to you.

You might want to say something important, but your knowledge won’t drain away if left to simmer. Withhold your story and seek to understand the person in front of you. Consequently, the individual will be content.

You give others a gift when you listen well. Everyone craves full attention when they speak and providing it is like offering a kitten cream. People lap up the courtesy and their self-esteem grows.

Consider not interrupting a bonding exercise. The better you listen, the happier you make the person you converse with and he/she likes you more as a result.

The other end of the problem

What if you’re the one who’s spoken over? What can you do?

Bear in mind some people you talk to haven’t read this article and are in the dark. Most people rarely ponder how they affect others when they interrupt them. They barely notice they do it, so won’t take responsibility for their behavior.

When you recognize people don’t mean any harm when they butt in, and you used to do it too, you can forgive them. Sometimes, you will still want to speak though. After all, conversations are a two-way street.

Also, some people are overbearing and may benefit if they improve their communication skills.

When interrupted, you can say “good point” or “let me just tell you this.” You might need to raise your voice slightly to be heard, but stay calm. Keep your cool and you can swiftly turn attention back to what you want to say.

When others talk over you, don’t be afraid to interject–this is the one time when butting in is okay. No good comes from interrupting or being interrupted. Stay mindful and be a great listener. Your relationships will improve and people will like you a lot.

The Problem with Interrupting People (And How to Stop)

John D. Moore, PhD

Described as folksy and down to earth, Dr. John Moore infuses current events and pop culture into his posts as a way of communicating wider points on issues related to wellness and goal attainment. His work has been featured in nationally syndicated media, including Cosmo, Men's Fitness and CBS Market Watch. He is a consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies and institutions of Higher Learning. Dr. Moore is author of Confusing Love with Obsessionand Editor in Chief at: Guy Counseling.

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APA Reference
Moore, J. (2018). The Problem with Interrupting People (And How to Stop). Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from


Last updated: 10 May 2018
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