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Respectfully Yours: Coping with conversation interrupters

Dear Jacquelyn,

I have a few friends who jump in and interrupt me when I’m talking. How should I politely handle someone who constantly interrupts me while I’m speaking?

Dear Reader,

Dealing with someone who keeps cutting you off mid-sentence is never easy.

You deserve to get your ideas and thoughts out there without constantly being derailed.

Keep in mind that, even though it’s frustrating, interrupters might just be excited and incredibly engaged about what you’re saying and are eager to share their thoughts.

We often view these people interrupting us as rude, but most of the time they don’t realize they are even doing it. Try to be mindful of this and not get too upset.

There are ways to deal with people who not so politely keep interrupting you.

If someone isn’t picking up on social cues, it’s time to be blunt, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be courteous.

It’s best to communicate you’re having an issue by balancing your reaction with a mix of kindness and honesty.

Your first line of defense might be to ask the person who interrupts to allow you to finish what you were saying.

Politely say, “Please let me finish my thought. Then I’d love to hear what you have to say.” This is a gentle way to remind the person that they have overstepped.

Another option you can try, before you start talking, is to stipulate when it’s OK to jump in. For example, you might say, “I want to tell you the entire story. Then I want to hear your thoughts.” This type of advanced warning may stop the interrupter before they start.

We’ve all dealt with someone who continuously chimes in with their two cents and it can be frustrating. But not all interruptions are worth addressing.

This may be an opportunity for you to occasionally take the high road. As with most things, the best way to handle it can vary based on the individual situation, knowing that some interruptions are not worth addressing.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training.

All Rights Reserved &Copy;2022 Jacquelyn Youst