You know the couples that have been together so long they can finish each other’s sentences? We are “almost” one of those couples.
My smart and lovely wife Doris often finishes my sentences…. wrong. Well, not exactly wrong. Just not what I was going to say. To be totally accurate, her finish is usually something correct, just not what I was going to talk about.
In the interest in full disclosure, I’m sure I interrupt her even more often. It is a bad habit that I am working to correct. Fortunately, neither of us take the interruption personal nor do we become offended or defensive when we point out interruptions.
One of my goals this year is to interrupt less. I realize that when I interrupt I am doing several things wrong, including:
1. I am not listening as well as I should.
2. I am not being respectful of the speaker’s thoughts.
3. I may be subconsciously “showing off” (a common issue for the “nerds” and for “leaders”).
4. I may miss something valuable.
I am also watching my behaviour when I am interrupted. I try to remember my thought but listen to see if the interruption may be of value, perhaps appropriately changing my train of thought. Maybe it is an important correction and I am being stopped before charging ahead wrong! And even if the interrupter is just oblivious to me, no problem. It’s not personal if I don’t take it personal.
I will admit I am not adopting a “no interruptions” rule. There are times in natural discussions where interruptions are normal to a flowing discussion. They just need to be appropriate and infrequent.