Don’t interrupt me, woman…

The only way a girl is going to change her behavior because of you, or learn from your criticism, is if she is interested in you and you make it clear that your continued interest is contingent upon her changing her ways. She has to be actually interested in you, though, not just craving your attention/attraction as an orbiter.

Gimpyfox on Erudite Knight, commenting on the post “I had forgotten my own lesson…”

Couldn’t agree more. She won’t change unless she cares about you or if you aren’t going to come around anymore. My former neighbor and colleague whom I’ve referenced before [ Sandy], had a habit of interrupting what I was saying and going off a tangent of her own. Interruptions and interjections are part of normal conversations, but these weren’t quick hits of “Oh, of course!” or “Nooo….” They were full fledged ramblings. I’d be talking about something, she’d get excited, lightly touch my arm, and launch into her story. I tolerated this for a few months and listened to her, but I found that I’d always forget my point and would instead have to continue with her topic instead. I never did this to her. I always let her finish whatever she was saying.

After being interrupted one too many times, I told her, “You have a habit of interrupting me when I’m talking. I don’t do that to you and I’d appreciate it if you stopped.” She was taken aback, but she didn’t argue. Our conversation continued and sure enough, she started to interrupt me again. This time, I said, “No, let me finish.” She looked surprised, but she acquiesced. After talking longer, it happened again. I looked her in the eye and said, “Don’t interrupt me,” before continuing. She let it go. It felt good to stand up for something, albeit little. It wasn’t done yet, though. In a subsequent conversation, I re-explained** and said, “Look, the way you interrupt can work with women. I’ve seen it plenty of times. One of you will be talking and it’ll spark some thought in another and she’ll jump in and continue with her story. And that’s fine for being among women. Being among men or talking to men is different. We interject, but we don’t run off with our own stories until the other guy’s done. Moreover, I wait till your finished to think and say something in response.”

She got it that time and stopped the interruptions. She apologized and said she hadn’t considered it that way before. And good for her for doing so. It was better for both of us. She was fun as hell to talk to thanks to her lively stories about the UK, the US, and the classes she taught here. It’s not that I minded her speaking for what she said, it’s that she derailed whatever I was saying and it was rude to cut a person off. She understood that and subsequently changed. She did need periodic reminding thanks to her old habit dying hard: Once I even told her “Don’t interrupt me” in front of some friends to excellent effect because it made us look like a crotchety married couple (and it showed her that yes, I’m ready to “call her out” in public). I wasn’t even mad, but I wanted her to know. I had to show that this is how I do things. Did she get angry at me when I told her she should change her behavior? No. She may have if we didn’t know each other well, but that wasn’t the case here. We both enjoyed each other’s company on professional and personal levels. Like Gimpyfox said, she changed because she wanted to change. She liked me as a friend and professional, and I likewise looked upon her the same way.

*Sandy is not her real name. Most every name on here will be a pseudonym.

**Reteach and retrain as necessary. People forget.


2 thoughts on “Don’t interrupt me, woman

    1. errantbuckeye Post author

      Indeed. She cared because she enjoyed my company and friendship. She, in turn, helped out with debating and showed me how I can sometimes overreach an argument. Win-win.


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