I interrupt a lot and get criticized for doing it, but I'm also intensely critical of the way some people interrupt me, even though I facilitate most interruptions by shutting up immediately — like a lawyer in front of judge — and letting the other person speak without the burden of feeling that they have frustrated or annoyed me at all.
I like back-and-forth conversation and hate to get stuck in situations where one person is holding forth and relying on a privilege to complete long sentences and stringing them one after another, as if desperate to fend off the relationship he could have if only he'd throw it over to me for a change.
My favorite of Scharf's suggestions is:
Reward yourself. Count how many times a day you interrupt others. Set a goal in the morning along the lines of: "If I interrupt others less than 10 times today, I will stop at Starbucks on the way home from work." Continue to lower the goal daily until you can get to the point where you are not interrupting anyone.What a dreary existence! I'm glad Scharf isn't here in person saying that or my outburst would be interrupting. My tip for avoiding interruption is: Avoid in-person interaction with boring people. Read. And blog. Blogging is kind of all about taking in the words of others until you feel motivated to interrupt.
ADDED: What got me started on the idea for this post was an idle random click back into this blog's archive, where I happened up a February 9, 2013 post in the old Gatsby project. The sentence to be discussed there was:
"Sometimes she and Miss Baker talked at once, unobtrusively and with a bantering inconsequence that was never quite chatter, that was as cool as their white dresses and their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire."In the comments CWJ said:
I have often noticed how women can talk over each other but be completely mutually understood. Not a man thing in my experience. That a man would not just notice this but incorporate it into this sentence is simply great.