When You’re Interrupted

In today’s society, we are so busy. We have many more things to do than hours in the day. How do we take the time to have conversations that are meaningful and uninterrupted with all that we have going on?

Janine Ottley, an etiquette blogger from The Pink Teapot share some situations and helpful tips to help you avoid those awkward moments.

Your child interrupts you when you’re having a conversation with someone else.

Whether on the phone or in person, this can be distracting. We want to show our children that we love them and that they are a priority, however, we also want to respect those to whom we are talking. You might want to practice beforehand with your children letting them know that when you are speaking to someone, you would like them to say, “Excuse me” to which you will reply, “Okay, just a moment” or “Is this an emergency” You need to define “emergency” beforehand with your children so that they understand. If they continue to pester you, get down to their level, look them in the eye, and let them know you understand they want to talk to you and you will be right with them; then keep a time limit on your current conversation.

You are interrupted via phone or by another person when with someone else (either having a phone conversation or with someone in person)

It’s always polite to give your undivided attention as much as possible to the one you are either speaking to over the phone, or with in person. If you have an interruption, let’s say it’s a phone call: you have caller ID- excuse yourself and call them back or let the person to whom you are currently speaking that you will call them back and then make good on that promise. If you are interrupted in person, acknowledge the person whom you are with by saying, “excuse me, I’m so sorry, one moment….” you may want to give details like someone is at your door or if you are with the person, they can see what’s happening, but you can still excuse yourself to have a brief interlude with the person who is interrupting.

You are interrupted by the person you are with

This can happen and usually it’s a miscommunication or perhaps one person (or both) not communicating their needs. If you are constantly interrupted by the person with whom you are speaking, you wait until it’s a good time (when this has not happened) and simply address the issue. You might want to say something like, “I notice that we get interrupted quite a bit when we talk/are together. I really want to enjoy my time with you and it means a lot to me, could we both work on sharing our expectations of our time together?”

If you’ve unintentionally interrupted someone

This is an honest mistake, one I’ve made many times. You try to be aware of the situation around you and simply apologize for interrupting and bow out of the situation. If it’s a phone call, try to read the person’s tone on the other end. Often when we are busy, we still answer the phone out of obligation- don’t. If you do call someone, ask them if you’ve reached them at a good time, thus giving them the opportunity to call you back at a more convenient time. If you come up to someone and interrupt unintentionally, apologize for interrupting and excuse yourself from the conversation, don’t stand there and take it over anyway.

Practice makes perfect

No one is perfect. By practicing some of these simple phrases with our family and others close to us, we will gain the experience and the tools necessary to help us be better listeners and less intrusive…non-interruptors. For some this takes more practice than others. I love to talk, I have to make an effort to practice all these things myself, but through a lot of practice and many mistakes, I have become better at it. Listen more than you speak and you will find you learn a lot more than you ever could imagine.

To learn more etiquette advice, visit http://thepinkteapot.blogspot.com/

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