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Dear Aspie: How to Stop Being Interrupted?
Posted on Monday, March 27 @ 01:45:36 EST by
Social Skills Dear Aspie:
?I have a really big problem with commanding attention in a conversation. When I start talking, people talk over me, or they'll interrupt me to say something they want to say. What can I do??


Read on for GroovyDruid's response!

Dear Aspie:
?I have a really big problem with commanding attention in a conversation. When I start talking, people talk over me, or they'll interrupt me to say something they want to say. What can I do??


Argh! I hate that. I?ve had trouble with over-zealous talkers from time to time. I have some ideas for you.

First, in case you aren?t already certain of this, their interrupting and talking over you shows very poor communication skills. It?s not only rude, it shows they are not listening. Rather they are lying in wait for an opening to show off their lung capacity. Furthermore, to anyone who knows, it shows that they don?t understand the cycle of communication. (See my previous column replying to anonymous below.) Talking over another person is a great way to alienate and upset anyone, not just an aspie.

But ? it happens. The reason such people feel licensed to push over your speech most likely stems from a perceived lack of intention from you. In addition to the message communicated, a speech also must transfer the intention behind the words. This tells the listener the importance of the input. You can tell people God?s last name or the secret to infinite ice cream, but if they don?t perceive intention in your speech, they still won?t pay attention to or give it importance, because they think you don?t give it importance.

Aspies often have trouble with intention in their speech. They tend to ?talk to themselves?, and not in a schizophrenic way. They seem to intend the message for themselves first and to others around them as a secondary audience. Aspies love the sound of their own voice, not because of egotism, but because it seems to be foreign to them, like another being speaking. This phenomenon may be a result of a structural deficit: autistics often exhibit signs that the brain hemispheres aren?t communicating properly, or at all. When this is the case, one side of the brain can communicate to the other by verbal messages spoken by the mouth (one side of the brain) and taken in by the ears (the other side of the brain).

You can improve the intention in your speech through practice. Creative visualization helps to get the proper idea. For example, don?t speak to someone. Instead, speak to a point in space three feet behind his head. Concentrate on that point, and visualize your message going there. INTEND your message going there. Each and every time you speak to someone, first ask yourself, ?Where do I intend this message to go? To this person? That person? All of them?? Then sock it to them with force, and overshoot the mark. You can even start out by practicing with a willing person and raising your voice. Yell your message to that point behind the person, and make darned sure the person gets it. Then tone down your volume, but keep that same level of intention. Put all your attention into getting the message out of you and across the distance to the other person.

If you practice these drills, I think you?ll be amazed at the results. Pretty soon, you will develop strong speech habits and commensurate confidence. It won?t matter if you?re reading the phone book: people will pay attention. They won?t have the guts to interrupt someone who speaks with such intention?because very few of them have it, and it impresses and cows them.

By the way, there are some great lines to embarrass people who interrupt you. They are worth preparing in advance to ease the transition from ?interruptee? to ?feared and respected communicator?. The simplest is, ?You interrupted me,? which in adult conversation obliges the interrupter to apologize and yield. Far more fun, though, is my personal favorite: ?People who interrupt me tend to disappear under mysterious circumstances.? Deliver that one with a sly smile and watch what happens!

Good luck!

Send your questions to ?Dear Aspie?! Just PM your question to GroovyDruid or send an e-mail to dearaspie@wrongplanet.net. Questions of a personal nature may be submitted anonymously, though printing a user name is preferred. ?Dear Aspie? reserves the privilege of editing for spelling, brevity, and clarity. Thanks for your submissions!


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Re: Dear Aspie: How to Stop Being Interrupted? (Score: 1)
by InSearch Monday, May 08 @ 16:42:20 EDT
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Please don't say this: "People who interrupt me tend to disappear under mysterious circumstances" If these are people you deal with on a regular basis they may already view you as odd and saying these things will only make them feel more uncomfortable around you. Yes it is rude of them to interrupt you and they should not do this. A better thing to say is "hey you interrupted me", or "I was talking". Remember to say these things in a cool collected voice. Truth be told we all get interrupted and sometimes saying nothing at all is the most appropriate.

Re: Dear Aspie: How to Stop Being Interrupted? (Score: 1)
by lostatlimbo Wednesday, August 23 @ 17:53:30 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.myspace.com/erraticretaliator
Dear God, I love this site.

Re: Dear Aspie: How to Stop Being Interrupted? (Score: 1)
by faithfilly Tuesday, February 20 @ 10:41:33 EST
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My personal technique is to remain genuinely childlike and immediately respond to the interruption (in a higher than usual volume) with, "I don't know why people love to interrupt me when I'm talking. I notice that others receive more respect when they talk. Is there something wrong with me or is it them?" That seems to throw the interrupter into such a state of shock and confusion that s/he becomes too embarrased to do it any longer.

Re: Dear Aspie: How to Stop Being Interrupted? (Score: 1)
by Maven2 Friday, January 07 @ 14:02:45 EST
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Hi Everyone, I guess I found the first part the "Original Response" personally a little upsetting. As an Aspie I often find MYSELF interrupting people because I can't tell when they have finished talking and it's my turn. So we have to consider does that make me... "...not only rude, it shows they are not listening."? I have tried for 50 years to see the clues when someone is done talking and it's my turn. I can't see them! Others people can see them and it works just fine for them. I simply can't figure it out. ...yet? And so if I go the other way and just assume I'm going to miss the clues so I don't step in when I think it's my turn and wait to see - then folks get upset that I missed my cue and they assumed I don't care and don't respond to other people, that I'm insensitive because I have nothing to say. Or that I'm controlling them or manipulating with my overly dramatic pause. I can't seem to win any way I try to figure it. It's not for not caring, not listening, or not trying. I think it makes it worse that I don't outwardly show signs of my disability and have overcome many of it's problems (which should be good). So folks don't dismiss it and forgive me for this shortcoming. They just think I am rude and an insensitive person. Overall though... I just wanted to point out that the Original Response didn't consider that the "rude" and "Unlistening" person could have aspergers. It seems that this leap is what those of us that do, have to wrestle with every day. It isn't always obvious, diagnosed, etc. So please don't just leap as to who the other person is. Thanks for the discussion. It's great to consider all of these angles. It's clear that with these problems things are simply just not simple and obvious, and we all grow and learn even from these seemingly awkward moments. All part of life.

Re: Dear Aspie: How to Stop Being Interrupted? (Score: 1)
by spudnik Wednesday, February 20 @ 03:01:07 EST
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I am always having this problem, with my wife especially when I am talking to a friend, she seems to think I am not getting to the point or that what I have to say is of any importance, I have tried to bring this up on several occasions but she doesn't want to hear what I am trying to say or convey. I have had this issue most of my life, I always seem to be interrupted, and have even been told to shut up I am trying to talk when I am in the middle of a conversation with a another person. I do have a problem with getting words out or finding a word. I just with people would see I am trying very hard to communicate.

Re: Dear Aspie: How to Stop Being Interrupted? (Score: 1)
by tetrisrk Friday, July 09 @ 04:44:14 EDT
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Thank you so much for this article...being interrupted frustrates me like nothing else. Thankfully, this has improved for me as I've learned to be more assertive - a couple of years ago, people would actually be idiotic enough to cut me off mid-sentence and say, "Nobody cares!" All I can say is that maintaining eye contact works wonders. One thing though - as much as this made me laugh, saying, "People who interrupt me tend to disappear under mysterious circumstances," probably wouldn't be a good thing to say to someone who you're not very close to. If this was said to a random peer or coworker, it may cause a problem or two...

Re: Dear Aspie: How to Stop Being Interrupted? (Score: 1)
by sorrowstealer Monday, August 25 @ 10:54:20 EDT
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I too have the problem.The person who is eager to listen some words from me other time interrupt me while chitchatting and specially when I am starting to tell a story or describe an event..However I have noticed I am very good at official talk's ..atleast that's what I think. there is two reason,one is lack of eye contact,facial gesture and right tone of delivery at right time.The other is simply an urge to end the story fast and thus not properly delivering the sequence & climax.You will understand the problem very well with a deep study of book on aspie.. I have some thought's which I am trying to imply in my life,First of all dont be angry to other when they are not listening ,aspie's are themselves very good listener's but you cant expect that from every Neurotypical.Our disability make it harder to make any conversation but with right process and practice we can atleast try to make it most perfect,Here are my thought's 1>Never mumble,You may like to mumble words with the person you not like much.Always try to speak clearly and loudly.Remember our voice is an asset. it's good duty to express to everyone yourself with a loud voice,It's one way of recognition .It may take a very long time but you can develop a good habit of 'voice power'! 2>Dont be too modest or gentle everytime!specially when you talking to someone new.Dont get my words wrong.We Aspie's can look nervous or uneasy by default,uneasy appearance is disturbing to make conversation's.try to make it homely. 3>Do drama while talking!It's not a bad idea to put a sarcasm or funny idea in everything.Please I am not telling change yourself.We all love to have fun and as someone rightly said no one like's grumpy face. 4>Take criticism's as a learning way than being angry on that and stop blaming other's,,It;s probably good idea to have a good listener friend(!)with whom you can share long daily life stories.he or she may not say that i liked the story.Thank's for telling but it will be a good practice.

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