Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: guihong on April 17, 2013, 10:59:36 PM

Title: How do you converse?
Post by: guihong on April 17, 2013, 10:59:36 PM
Hi, all:

Mods, not sure what category this is supposed to be in.

This sounds like the silliest question, but DH and I had an argument (really round #10,987 of an argument that's lasted 16 years  >:().  How do people converse with one another?

When DH's family is sitting around talking, let's say Person A begins a subject and states something.  Person B will jump in and say something, often before Person A is finished.  Then Persons C and D will jump in, and as soon as Person D appears to be trailing off or finishing, Person E hops in, and so on.  If the topic is something controversial, like politics, the rule is "He (or She) with the quickest reaction time and the loudest voice "wins".  To me, it is a lot of interrupting, although no one gets truly angry and it isn't abusive.  We had a huge fight at his parents' house (we went for a walk) after one such episode, in which I was not allowed to finish my thoughts during a debate. 

In my family, at least before death took so many of the people DH knew, one person shares and then there's a pause before someone else begins, and everyone shares.   It's almost parliamentary.  This started when I was a kid at the dinner table, and everyone could speak about the day without interruption. 

Now my own kids and DH communicate just as he did in his family and I feel I can't get a word in.  I have a soft voice and take a while to get my thoughts together and then form words, and in that interim, DH or a kid will jump in.  When I get mad, DH says 95% of people communicate like this and my family had been stiff, formal and just plain odd (well, odd I can give him  ;D).  I couldn't stand visiting DH's family partly for this reason, and he felt out of place and very uncomfortable around my family.  He called them "cold".  He's probably right, there.  My father kept his emotions very close to the vest, and he was partly deaf.  He was a far better listener than speaker.  He also had the same "lag" between knowing what he wanted to say, and saying it.

Is he right, and I'm the oddball, or is this just a different style out of circumstances and personalities?
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 17, 2013, 11:08:43 PM
Personally I think you both are a bit off to extremes. There shouldn't be (IMO) regular lags in conversation, lags are not a norm, just a once in a while thing when extra care and thought are needed. And people shouldn't interrupt regularly - although it is sometimes necessary.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: PastryGoddess on April 17, 2013, 11:12:09 PM
Your DH is wrong.  He made up that percentage to make himself feel better :)

I personally prefer to converse with each person having a say, but I have family members who converse like your DH's family.

I think that it's probably a 50/50 split.  What's more important is that he listens to you and tries to work with you in getting your voice heard by his family. 
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: EllenS on April 17, 2013, 11:34:48 PM
I think, like most human behavior, it's probably a bell curve - your family and DH's family are toward the ends, and most people fall somewhere in the middle.  My family of origin was a mix of the 2 like your family now: talkative father and kids, mom who took longer to decide what she wanted to say.

My DH's family is even more talkative and forward in conversation, and there are a lot more of them.  They have actually developed the ability to conduct multiple conversations with different people around the table simultaneously.  As in, one person will be carrying on 3 different conversations at the same time, and each other person may be participating in multiple conversations as well.  That makes my head spin.  I am the less-talkative one in that group, for sure.  It has given me a new appreciation of what my mom was dealing with. 

I think what your DH may not get, is how isolating and demeaning it feels when you feel like you are not heard, like your voice does not count.  The people I know who are on the more outgoing and talkative side, just don't take it seriously if they are interrupted, because there is always more where that came from - easy come, easy go.  While folks who are more on the introverted side invest a lot of themselves in what they want to say, and it is more hurtful to be disregarded or cut off.

I don't have specific etiquette points about the situation you describe, but the way I deal with the overwhelming nature of DH's family, is I just know that I need breaks from it, and find reasons to wander in and out, and make time to talk to people in smaller groups or 1to1.  That way I feel like we really are getting to know one another and they do value me.  Then I can consider the group discussions as "dinner and a show" and happily be the audience.  Don't know if that helps you, but it helps me.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: MariaE on April 18, 2013, 01:34:42 AM
Personally I think you both are a bit off to extremes. There shouldn't be (IMO) regular lags in conversation, lags are not a norm, just a once in a while thing when extra care and thought are needed. And people shouldn't interrupt regularly - although it is sometimes necessary.

Agree with this.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Iris on April 18, 2013, 01:49:31 AM
Podding the rest. While I am not at all used to actual gaps in conversations, constant interruptions would drive me batty. I think the issue here though is that *you* are feeling unheard and isolated and even if 95% of people conversed as your DH is used to (they don't) I would expect him to slow down a bit so that you weren't feeling excluded. I would also expect your children to have the respect to wait for mom to have her say before jumping in.

In fairness it's quite possible that they don't notice you wanting to speak, simply because they are so rapid. I know DD2 gets frustrated sometimes because everyone else is older than her and take less time to get their sentences together. If she feels this way she raises her hand like at school  ;D. It may seem silly but it works, because it makes us aware of the situation and she gets the next conversational 'turn'. Perhaps your family could come up with some other less school-y signal that they need to slow down for a sec.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Raintree on April 18, 2013, 03:41:04 AM
I'm with OP. How is it a conversation or a free exchange of ideas if I am not allowed to make my point? (Or if anyone is not allowed to make their point). Usually what ends up happening is someone cuts me off and argues with what they THINK I'm going to say, not what I was actually planning to say. Or perhaps I want to listen to what Person B is saying, but I can't, because Person C jumps in with some tangent.

The OP's DH's family would drive me batty, and I'd probably just clam up and say nothing at all, since it would appear nobody was really all that interested in what I had to say.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: sammycat on April 18, 2013, 05:10:30 AM
Personally I think you both are a bit off to extremes. There shouldn't be (IMO) regular lags in conversation, lags are not a norm, just a once in a while thing when extra care and thought are needed. And people shouldn't interrupt regularly - although it is sometimes necessary.

Agree with this.

Me too. Most people I know fall in between these 2 extremes.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: CrochetFanatic on April 18, 2013, 05:41:06 AM
I agree with the OP.  If this happens often enough and is (for lack of a better word) severe enough, if makes a person feel like what they have to say isn't important.  I've had it where I've chimed in with something, and what I've said isn't acknowledged at all (conversation continues as if I haven't spoken, and there is no nodding or eye contact, in other words).  I've also had people interrupt me just as I've begun to speak, and when I've continued speaking in the hopes that they would get the hint, they would hold up a finger and say "Hold that thought."  And if the conversation turns to politics, well, forget it.  There's no diving back in!  ;D  I don't talk much at all, but when I do, I want to be heard!

Interrupting is okay sometimes, depending on the reason.  It could also be a subtle (or not) hint that someone has been a chatterbox.  It doesn't sound like this is the case, though.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Roe on April 18, 2013, 06:41:32 AM
Personally I think you both are a bit off to extremes. There shouldn't be (IMO) regular lags in conversation, lags are not a norm, just a once in a while thing when extra care and thought are needed. And people shouldn't interrupt regularly - although it is sometimes necessary.

Agree with this.

Me too. Most people I know fall in between these 2 extremes.

Yep.  In our family, a person is allowed to finish their thoughts but there's usually no lag in between.  And every now and then, someone (usually me) will interrupt someone else but the conversation continues flowing and the thoughts and ideas are still being shared. 

Now, it could be because we all have strong voices and so no one feels unheard.  Maybe try working on projecting your voice more?  Not sure if that will help you feel like someone is listening but I do have a friend who has a very small voice and I can see why she's often interrupted or not heard.  Her voice does not carry.  I've talked about it with her and she's working on it but when she needs a stronger voice, I yell it out for her.  ;) 
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: reflection5 on April 18, 2013, 07:20:33 AM
Interrupting people before they finish their sentences/thoughts is rude.
Shouting/screaming is rude.
I cannot and will not take part in a “conversation” where several people are talking at once.  It gives me a headache and I’d rather leave the area than deal with such nonsense.  >:(

I’ve stopped talking and stared at people who are loud, yell, and interrupt.  Or I might say “Excuse me.  I’m speaking.” If they keep doing it, or if they cut off someone else who is talking to me, I say “Please.  Wait!  X is talking.”  Or I ignore the interrupter.

No one should have to sit in silence; a conversation should just flow.  If two people start to speak at the same time (accidentally) usually one says “oh, go ahead”.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: cabbageweevil on April 18, 2013, 07:28:44 AM
I think, like most human behavior, it's probably a bell curve - your family and DH's family are toward the ends, and most people fall somewhere in the middle.  My family of origin was a mix of the 2 like your family now: talkative father and kids, mom who took longer to decide what she wanted to say.

My DH's family is even more talkative and forward in conversation, and there are a lot more of them.  They have actually developed the ability to conduct multiple conversations with different people around the table simultaneously.  As in, one person will be carrying on 3 different conversations at the same time, and each other person may be participating in multiple conversations as well.  That makes my head spin.  I am the less-talkative one in that group, for sure.  It has given me a new appreciation of what my mom was dealing with. 

I think what your DH may not get, is how isolating and demeaning it feels when you feel like you are not heard, like your voice does not count.  The people I know who are on the more outgoing and talkative side, just don't take it seriously if they are interrupted, because there is always more where that came from - easy come, easy go.  While folks who are more on the introverted side invest a lot of themselves in what they want to say, and it is more hurtful to be disregarded or cut off.

Altogether an interesting subject.  I agree here with EllenS – likely, overall a bell curve: OP’s husband’s “95% of people communicate like him and his” declaration, seems just mistaken and wrong.

I encountered a while ago, an interesting book by a linguist, which dealt among other things with different conversational styles.  The author made a distinction between two opposing conversational styles (with intermediate ones existing, between the two).  She wrote of the “high-consideration” style (participants are careful to take turns in speaking, and to give all who participate, the chance to have their say); and the “high-involvement” style (“benevolent anarchy”, people speak “all-together-now” – interrupting taken as “I hear you, I appreciate your contribution”, rather than “shut up with your foolish drivel and listen to me, who have the rights of the matter”) – as EllenS says, “more where that came from – easy come, easy go”.  Good and less-good qualities seen, of both styles; and emphasised, “neither is right or wrong, just different”.

Author also opined that this can be a cultural thing – people of different geographical / ethnic areas can tend to one or the other end of this spectrum;  which can, when those from different areas mix, lead to negative sentiments:  the “high-involvement” folk feel that the “high-consideration” ones are a bit slow and stupid, whilst, the other way about, feeling is “we, the considerate, do things rightly – they are rude and brash and abrasive”.

EllenS, I feel like you, in that I could absolutely not cope with multiple persons carrying on multiple conversations at the same time.  My head would not just spin, it would explode.

OP -- I'm on your side of the equation -- find it difficult to hold own end up among the "motor-mouths", and wish that greater consideration might prevail.



Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Thipu1 on April 18, 2013, 07:29:51 AM
Conversation in the family is kind of like a friendly tennis game.  Most discussions go back and forth in an orderly fashion without interruptions.  Usually, people get to finish a thout before someone else has a question or something to add.  Family gatherings are quite pleasant. 

FIL had an unpleasant conversational habit.  Two or three of us would be having a chat about something and, out of the blue, he'd start up a completely different conversation with one of us.  It was maddening.

Mr. Thipu also has an unfortunate habit.  I sometimes stutter a little and, when there's the slightest pause in my speech, he'll jump in with what he thinks is the proper word. If he's wrong (and he often is) I lose my train of thought.

  We've been married 30 years and I was never aware of this until SIL pointed it out and told him to
stop it.  He hasn't.  I suppose the habit is so deeply engrained he can't. 
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: perpetua on April 18, 2013, 07:36:18 AM

In my family, at least before death took so many of the people DH knew, one person shares and then there's a pause before someone else begins, and everyone shares.   It's almost parliamentary.  This started when I was a kid at the dinner table, and everyone could speak about the day without interruption. 

While I'm not a fan of interrupting people, your family's method of conversing does sound terribly stilted and unnatural, so I think compromise on both sides is called for here.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: *inviteseller on April 18, 2013, 07:55:35 AM
The method of interrupting and screaming to get a point across is what causes me to be rude, because I just get up and walk away.  My DD tends to yell to get her point across and sometimes you find yourself getting sucked in and all it does is spike the blood pressure and no one hears anyone else.  I like spirited conversations with give and take, but everyone gets a chance to finish before someone is jumping in.  OP, I would just walk away when this starts with both your DH and your kids, but tell them ahead of time that if the conversation starts to get out of control, I will walk away till we can get back on track.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: *inviteseller on April 18, 2013, 08:02:10 AM
And OP, the way your family did it, giving everyone a chance to talk without interruption at the dinner table?  That is actually how our family therapist told us to converse with each other so everyone learns to take a turn, to actually listen, and to give yourself a chance to weigh your response before just flying off the handle in response to one or two words.  It is a work in progress, but it has taught both myself and my girls to really listen and makes each person feel they have a say
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: TurtleDove on April 18, 2013, 09:11:50 AM
I agree that the OP and her DH are on opposite ends of the extreme.  It is frustrating for me to try to talk with someone who has long pauses in their speech or who is a "slow talker."  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with such a style, because I would imagine they are frustrated with people like me who are pretty quick in our speech, both in content and cadence.  If someone is not saying anything, I am not certain whether they are working themselves up to say something or simply don't have anything to say, so if I have something to say, I will say it.  It isn't a "cutting off" of the other person so much as a "person A isn't saying anything, so I guess I will."
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 18, 2013, 09:26:44 AM
I'm with OP. How is it a conversation or a free exchange of ideas if I am not allowed to make my point? (Or if anyone is not allowed to make their point). Usually what ends up happening is someone cuts me off and argues with what they THINK I'm going to say, not what I was actually planning to say. Or perhaps I want to listen to what Person B is saying, but I can't, because Person C jumps in with some tangent.

The OP's DH's family would drive me batty, and I'd probably just clam up and say nothing at all, since it would appear nobody was really all that interested in what I had to say.

That's how I am in groups where I try to say something and people keep talking over me.  I just clam up because I was raised that when you're interrupted it's because no one's interested in what you have to say.   
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Luci on April 18, 2013, 09:44:45 AM
I've only known one family that has a style like your husband. I was friends with one of the children and she very quickly learned that the group I ran around with in high school wouldn't put up with her rudeness, so she adjusted.

It does sound that your family is a little extreme the other way, but I could certainly deal with that better than your inlaws! I would probably err with your family, too, by not waiting for a lag, just smoothly going on when the other speaker seemed to have finished his thought.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Deetee on April 18, 2013, 10:01:54 AM
I agree with previous posters that you and your husband were raised at opposite ends of the conversational spectrum. For general conversation, I find a semi interrupting style easiest. This means you interrupt the person, but not the idea and you rarely finish a complete sentence.

Eg
So I'm thinking about new curtains..
Oh, in the living room or the whole house?
Just the living room. It would brighten...
Nice idea what colour..
I was thinking about pink or..
Pink is nice. Were you wanting something to match the rose

In the above case, the interrupting shows enthusiasm and engagement.

If someone was talking about something important or emotional like a job choice, health problems it relationship issue, then I think it's better to switch to a more pause and respond mode where you consider what they say.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 18, 2013, 10:08:43 AM
I agree that both styles presented in the OP seem a little extreme, though I would have a much harder time dealing with the DH's. I certainly don't think 95% of people converse like his family, although IME most are quicker and more prone to interruption than the OP's.

My friend Amy's family talks like DH's--she warned me about it the first time I visited. I take breaks if I get overwhelmed and I don't take it personally if I'm interrupted, although I usually don't push forward with what I was saying. I find I have more success talking to people one on one, or in very small groups, rather than trying to manage at the dinner table, which is more of a circus. They do a lot of, Person A starts a story to Person B, then halfway through Person C starts listening and interrupts with a lot of questions that were covered in the first half of the story, and while A answers them B gets bored and starts a new conversation with Person D, so that when A is telling a new part of the story B jumps back in and has to ask a bunch of catch-up questions, etc.. Crazy! They seem to like it, though.

The thing that would irritate me most, actually, is being told that "almost everyone" converses this way, and I was weird for not preferring it.  >:( Different groups have different styles. In my family the room as a whole tends to be quite noisy, but people are broken up into smaller groups having short conversations (with screaming children providing the background noise). We don't usually talk about anything contentious, like politics; we aren't debaters. We'll usually ask someone how their job is going, for example, and then people who are interested listen to the answer, and people who aren't interested move off.

There seems to be kind of a "conversation circle" within which it would be considered rude to start a different conversation than the one currently going on... Like Anne asks Bob how his job is going, and Bob is answering. Cathy isn't interested in that, she'd rather ask Dave about his garden. But since they're all four sitting at the same smallish table, the volume at which Cathy and Dave would have to speak would be considered to be interrupting Anne and Bob, so Cathy waits until Bob and Anne are done. Or if she really doesn't want to hear about Bob's job, she gets up (meals are usually buffet-style, casual) and goes to another conversation circle for a while.

I don't think we really interrupt much, but if someone seems to be trailing off, someone else might jump in; we don't have many awkward pauses, we'd rather fill them with something. We would have to make a conscious effort to accommodate someone who needed significant time to think before replying--it might happen with a shy child, someone whose first language wasn't English, etc.. Or if we knew someone just needed that extra bit of time we would try to remember that, because we don't want people to feel left out.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: bloo on April 18, 2013, 10:14:19 AM
Interrupting people before they finish their sentences/thoughts is rude.
Shouting/screaming is rude.
I cannot and will not take part in a “conversation” where several people are talking at once.  It gives me a headache and I’d rather leave the area than deal with such nonsense.  >:(

I’ve stopped talking and stared at people who are loud, yell, and interrupt.  Or I might say “Excuse me.  I’m speaking.” If they keep doing it, or if they cut off someone else who is talking to me, I say “Please.  Wait!  X is talking.”  Or I ignore the interrupter.

No one should have to sit in silence; a conversation should just flow.  If two people start to speak at the same time (accidentally) usually one says “oh, go ahead”.

ITA.

I quit watching Oprah 15 years ago because I got tired of yelling, "Quit interrupting!" at the screen. All shows seem to do it. I remember my blood pressure starting to spike just watching a few seconds of Crossfire.

I tend to change my conversation style and tailor it to whomever I'm with:

With DH's family, I have to be loud and a little obnoxious. I hate it but that's their style.
With a couple of my friends that think and speak with glacial-like slowness, I mentally force myself to relax and not try to fill in their thoughts. I find this difficult, but doable and I really like these people (not because of their conversation style but because of their other excellent qualities).
With my two main BFF's we just have a respectful back-and-forth. We let each other complete a thought, listening and then either speak or give a cue that we're processing what the other has said (but that processing time is fairly short).
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 18, 2013, 10:31:18 AM
I agree with previous posters that you and your husband were raised at opposite ends of the conversational spectrum. For general conversation, I find a semi interrupting style easiest. This means you interrupt the person, but not the idea and you rarely finish a complete sentence.

Eg
So I'm thinking about new curtains..
Oh, in the living room or the whole house?
Just the living room. It would brighten...
Nice idea what colour..
I was thinking about pink or..
Pink is nice. Were you wanting something to match the rose

In the above case, the interrupting shows enthusiasm and engagement.

If someone was talking about something important or emotional like a job choice, health problems it relationship issue, then I think it's better to switch to a more pause and respond mode where you consider what they say.

This would be very typical conversational style.

I think the topic dictates how our family communicates.  If someone is telling a story or sharing something of importance, then there is minimal interruptions.

If we are in a joking debate, we'll interrupt each other.
Sis: It was you who broke mom's lamp when we were little
Me: No, it wasn't, it was you, don't you remember, you were...
Sis: Oh, no no no no.... it was you, I remember it clearly...
Me: No you don't, just like you don't remember clearly how the carpet in our room got burned when you were...
Sis: Are you kidding me, your trying to blame that on me too?

But say we are debating something more serious, we will try to let one person finish before jumping in.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 18, 2013, 10:32:14 AM
I find it interesting many posters say they would be more uncomfortable with the OP's DH's family's style. I'm just the opposite. I might find his family's style more exhausting, but I would find the OP's family style very unpleasant and uncomfortable. When a conversation goes too slowly I find it very awkward and upsetting. I feel I must dumb down everything I'm saying (either because I think the person I'm speaking with doesn't get it, hence the lags in responding, or conversely because I feel like its getting too deep and is becoming a test of sorts and I'm being judged and everything I'm saying is being analyzed). I wouldn't want to hang out with the aggressive conversationalists all the time but I would never ever want to hang out with the stilted conversationalists.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Venus193 on April 18, 2013, 10:34:10 AM
Being constantly interrupted is irritating.  Once in a while I interject with "Don't interrupt when I'm pontificating."

But I have to use that one carefully.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: bloo on April 18, 2013, 10:36:32 AM
Being constantly interrupted is irritating.  Once in a while I interject with "Don't interrupt when I'm pontificating."

But I have to use that one carefully.

I usually say, "I'm sorry, did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?"

I'm also careful with that one.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: jemma on April 18, 2013, 10:45:18 AM
This is a relationship question, not an etiquette question.  Given that your husband and children use the other conversational style, I might try to get more comfortable with it rather than having another argument about it.  I doubt they don't value your opinion!  Interrupting is rude, but it sounds like they might prefer smaller conversational bites than you do.  Instead of wanting to hear your whole parliamentary speech, they may prefer to hear one idea, and then say their response to it, and then hear another little idea.  If they are waiting for pauses and for you to finish small thoughts I think its fine.  If they are actually interrupting you in the middle of a small single thought, they need to stop.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: guihong on April 18, 2013, 10:53:59 AM
I agree with previous posters that you and your husband were raised at opposite ends of the conversational spectrum. For general conversation, I find a semi interrupting style easiest. This means you interrupt the person, but not the idea and you rarely finish a complete sentence.

Eg
So I'm thinking about new curtains..
Oh, in the living room or the whole house?
Just the living room. It would brighten...
Nice idea what colour..
I was thinking about pink or..
Pink is nice. Were you wanting something to match the rose

In the above case, the interrupting shows enthusiasm and engagement.

If someone was talking about something important or emotional like a job choice, health problems it relationship issue, then I think it's better to switch to a more pause and respond mode where you consider what they say.

Ouch :(.  That would shut me down after "brighten", and I'd probably change the subject.  I think everyone's right; it's a different style.

Someone upthread mentioned ethnic or regional differences; I was raised in a large city from Scots-Irish ancestry; my husband's family is all from rural Appalachia.  That's an interesting idea.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 18, 2013, 10:59:47 AM
Being constantly interrupted is irritating.  Once in a while I interject with "Don't interrupt when I'm pontificating."

But I have to use that one carefully.

Being interrupted constantly can be irritating, but in my opinion its a lot less irritating then having to wait for a response after each comment. With people who lag in conversations I often find myself constantly asking "were you listening? or "so are we still having a conversation?" or something like that, until I find a way to walk away and avoid trying to speak with that person again.


So really it does just come down to style and preference. Everyone has an opinion and preference and while they are all different, most of them are also perfectly correct.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: TurtleDove on April 18, 2013, 11:09:53 AM
POD to WillyNilly.  Unless I am having a heart to heart or comforting someone greiving (for example) I prefer conversations that are active and flowing.  I will wait for someone to finish their thought and don't interrupt as a matter of habit, but I also become irritated if someone speaks in an exceptionally slow cadence or takes a long time getting a thought out.  Thankfully, most people I converse with are quick with their ideas and speech.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Cami on April 18, 2013, 11:23:12 AM


In my family, at least before death took so many of the people DH knew, one person shares and then there's a pause before someone else begins, and everyone shares.   It's almost parliamentary.  This started when I was a kid at the dinner table, and everyone could speak about the day without interruption. 

Is that a conversation or a series of monologues?
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on April 18, 2013, 11:41:30 AM
Sad to say, but I interrupt a lot.  But, in my defense, I have no defense (except that I only do this with people I know really well).  It's just that I'm afraid the conversation will turn and I'll have missed my chance to expand on a particular subject.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: EllenS on April 18, 2013, 11:43:26 AM
OP, perhaps you could try introducing "sharing time" at your own family dinners, where you are intentional about everyone getting a turn to talk about their day.  It may not come naturally to everyone, but anyone can do it if it seen as a purposeful activity, rather than casual conversation.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 18, 2013, 11:56:29 AM
My mother's side of the family are, what I call, conversational grazers.  We (mostly the women) all talk at once and all talk using our hands.  We don't interrupt; we just all kind of talk at once.  Everybody in the family that does this somehow never get confused about overlapping conversations.  We just follow along multiple topics.

I had to warn DH about this while we are dating.  If my mother, her sisters, a few female cousins and I were in the same room talking it was quite a cacaphony of sounds and fluttering hands.

I know most people don't converse this way.  DH's family never did, but it wasn't as much of an adjustment for me.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 18, 2013, 01:36:09 PM
I agree with previous posters that you and your husband were raised at opposite ends of the conversational spectrum. For general conversation, I find a semi interrupting style easiest. This means you interrupt the person, but not the idea and you rarely finish a complete sentence.

Eg
So I'm thinking about new curtains..
Oh, in the living room or the whole house?
Just the living room. It would brighten...
Nice idea what colour..
I was thinking about pink or..
Pink is nice. Were you wanting something to match the rose

In the above case, the interrupting shows enthusiasm and engagement.

If someone was talking about something important or emotional like a job choice, health problems it relationship issue, then I think it's better to switch to a more pause and respond mode where you consider what they say.

Ouch :(.  That would shut me down after "brighten", and I'd probably change the subject.  I think everyone's right; it's a different style.

Someone upthread mentioned ethnic or regional differences; I was raised in a large city from Scots-Irish ancestry; my husband's family is all from rural Appalachia.  That's an interesting idea.

Me too, I'd be rather annoyed by that. 

With people I'm close to I will say, especially if they ask me a question but don't give me a chance to answer (and the question was not rhetorical), "Did you want an answer to that question or not?" or  if I'm really annoyed, "Will you let me talk yet?"

With those I'm not close to I will just be quiet and eventually they'll take a breath and say "Wow, you've been quiet."  ::)

I can understand what OP would mean by pauses.  I wouldn't say it's necessarily a bad thing.   I take part in a discussion group at my church that's held between services.  A bible study, really and often the woman leading it will bring up something that occurred to her while reading a passage, then ask us for our opinions or experiences. 

Sometimes there are pauses between people's answers because either the person said something profound and they're chewing it over or they just haven't had enough caffeine yet. ;)  Or sometimes there's no pauses because it's something we all have something interesting to add but there's no talking over each other.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Blondie on April 18, 2013, 01:56:23 PM
I find all of this so interesting, as it is something I have had to train myself on. Coming from NYC and having parents who both worked on Wall Street- one literally on the floor of the stock exchange- I had honestly never encountered the thought that interrupting someone was rude- it is just such a part of the culture- everyone is moving fast and working fast and interruptions were not a way of shutting people down, it was more often agreeing, letting the person know they were listening and on the same wave length and so the conversation could move to the next point.

Granted, it was loud and boisterous, not yelling. I would still classify actively yelling at someone, particularly to put them down, as rude.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Raintree on April 18, 2013, 02:47:08 PM
Interesting thread. To me, the OP's family doesn't sound uncomfortable or stilted at all; it sounds respectful.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: *inviteseller on April 18, 2013, 06:12:34 PM
This is a relationship question, not an etiquette question.  Given that your husband and children use the other conversational style, I might try to get more comfortable with it rather than having another argument about it.  I doubt they don't value your opinion!  Interrupting is rude, but it sounds like they might prefer smaller conversational bites than you do.  Instead of wanting to hear your whole parliamentary speech, they may prefer to hear one idea, and then say their response to it, and then hear another little idea.  If they are waiting for pauses and for you to finish small thoughts I think its fine.  If they are actually interrupting you in the middle of a small single thought, they need to stop.
But it would bear watching, especially with the kids, about not respecting others turn to have their say.  There are many different conversation styles, but the families debates don't always translate well into an educational/business world.


In my family, at least before death took so many of the people DH knew, one person shares and then there's a pause before someone else begins, and everyone shares.   It's almost parliamentary.  This started when I was a kid at the dinner table, and everyone could speak about the day without interruption. 

Is that a conversation or a series of monologues?
As I said in my post, we were taught by a family therapist to let everyone have their say about their day or an issue before anyone jumped in.  Is it a monologue?  Maybe, but it gives each person a chance to have their thoughts and observations heard without interruptions, which can derail what you are originally talking about.  Also, if you hear the person the whole way out, instead of responding to a single sentence, you have the talkers whole story in which to ask questions, give feedback or offer a counter opinion.  Sometimes it is fast paced, sometimes, not so much (the 6 yr old can draaaaag a story out ;D ).  My own family are interrupters and I unfortunately picked up on that and I know it took someone in the business world told me about it and worked with me to learn to listen before I just jumped in. 
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 18, 2013, 10:15:18 PM
With your DH's family, I think you'd be fighting an uphill battle, trying to get them all to adapt to your conversational style.

For your own, immediate family however, I think it's ok not to put up with constant interruptions. I suggest getting an object (like a "Conversation Stick" or something). Make a rule that whoever holds the object gets to talk uninterrupted. Then, when they've finished, they pass the object onto the next person who wants to talk.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: ishka on April 18, 2013, 10:27:52 PM
I know someone who is the worst of both conversational worlds. They will interrupt, either with a sentence fragment said loudly enough to cut over anyone else who is speaking, or sometimes by raising their hand, and when they have shut everyone else up they will take long pauses and chew every word twice before letting it out of their mouth.  Any interruption to these portentous pronouncements, which are rarely to do with anything  important,  is  taken very badly indeed.  Drives me craaaazy. >:(

I do not do well with slow talkers, I was horrified to realise once that I was unconsciously doing the "wrap it up" roll with my hand when talking to someone who seemed to think and talk at quarter speed.   I now sit on my hands if faced with a slow talker.

I do think that you are entitled to have your say, particularly within your immediate family, and that your husband and children should modify their "style" so that you do not feel ignored or invalidated.   
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Cami on April 19, 2013, 01:23:57 PM
This is a relationship question, not an etiquette question.  Given that your husband and children use the other conversational style, I might try to get more comfortable with it rather than having another argument about it.  I doubt they don't value your opinion!  Interrupting is rude, but it sounds like they might prefer smaller conversational bites than you do.  Instead of wanting to hear your whole parliamentary speech, they may prefer to hear one idea, and then say their response to it, and then hear another little idea.  If they are waiting for pauses and for you to finish small thoughts I think its fine.  If they are actually interrupting you in the middle of a small single thought, they need to stop.
But it would bear watching, especially with the kids, about not respecting others turn to have their say.  There are many different conversation styles, but the families debates don't always translate well into an educational/business world.


In my family, at least before death took so many of the people DH knew, one person shares and then there's a pause before someone else begins, and everyone shares.   It's almost parliamentary.  This started when I was a kid at the dinner table, and everyone could speak about the day without interruption. 

Is that a conversation or a series of monologues?
As I said in my post, we were taught by a family therapist to let everyone have their say about their day or an issue before anyone jumped in.  Is it a monologue?  Maybe, but it gives each person a chance to have their thoughts and observations heard without interruptions, which can derail what you are originally talking about.  Also, if you hear the person the whole way out, instead of responding to a single sentence, you have the talkers whole story in which to ask questions, give feedback or offer a counter opinion.  Sometimes it is fast paced, sometimes, not so much (the 6 yr old can draaaaag a story out ;D ).  My own family are interrupters and I unfortunately picked up on that and I know it took someone in the business world told me about it and worked with me to learn to listen before I just jumped in.
I see.  A conversation to me requires back and forth, to and fro. A monologue with questions and feedback at the end is a akin to a lecture with Q&A which seems somewhat unnatural for family interaction. If it worked for your family, that's great, of course.  If I married into your family and was expected to conform to that pattern, I'd probably have a difficult time with it and would end up not talking at all.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Brisvegasgal on April 19, 2013, 07:30:22 PM
This is a very interesting topic.  I do feel for the OP though.  Her family's style is very different from h DH's and that makes for some uncomfortable conversations. Whilst I don't think any one style is rude what I do think is extremely impolite is when a conversation does not include all parties. 

I say this because in my DH's family the preferred style is for their family to talk about things that they want to talk about.  Seriously mostly they talk about Cricket, the Catholic Church, the Old Boys association for the school they went to and politics. And before they got more daughters in law there were no separate conversations at the dinner table.  We had to listen to my FIL pontificate on the previously mentioned topics and because I knew nothing about the first three topics and have a different opinion about the fourth I was completely excluded from the 'discussion'. After about the 10th year of this I started to not care about the 'rules' and changed them by being more forceful. Y FIL still likes to pontificate but not so often.

Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: *inviteseller on April 19, 2013, 10:01:55 PM
This is a relationship question, not an etiquette question.  Given that your husband and children use the other conversational style, I might try to get more comfortable with it rather than having another argument about it.  I doubt they don't value your opinion!  Interrupting is rude, but it sounds like they might prefer smaller conversational bites than you do.  Instead of wanting to hear your whole parliamentary speech, they may prefer to hear one idea, and then say their response to it, and then hear another little idea.  If they are waiting for pauses and for you to finish small thoughts I think its fine.  If they are actually interrupting you in the middle of a small single thought, they need to stop.
But it would bear watching, especially with the kids, about not respecting others turn to have their say.  There are many different conversation styles, but the families debates don't always translate well into an educational/business world.


In my family, at least before death took so many of the people DH knew, one person shares and then there's a pause before someone else begins, and everyone shares.   It's almost parliamentary.  This started when I was a kid at the dinner table, and everyone could speak about the day without interruption. 

Is that a conversation or a series of monologues?
As I said in my post, we were taught by a family therapist to let everyone have their say about their day or an issue before anyone jumped in.  Is it a monologue?  Maybe, but it gives each person a chance to have their thoughts and observations heard without interruptions, which can derail what you are originally talking about.  Also, if you hear the person the whole way out, instead of responding to a single sentence, you have the talkers whole story in which to ask questions, give feedback or offer a counter opinion.  Sometimes it is fast paced, sometimes, not so much (the 6 yr old can draaaaag a story out ;D ).  My own family are interrupters and I unfortunately picked up on that and I know it took someone in the business world told me about it and worked with me to learn to listen before I just jumped in.
I see.  A conversation to me requires back and forth, to and fro. A monologue with questions and feedback at the end is a akin to a lecture with Q&A which seems somewhat unnatural for family interaction. If it worked for your family, that's great, of course.  If I married into your family and was expected to conform to that pattern, I'd probably have a difficult time with it and would end up not talking at all.
[/quote
This is the style my 2 DD's and I are learning to use...my own FOO (Dad, siblings) still all talk over each other without listening to what the others say or jumping on someone before they hear the whole thing.  It is a work in progress with my girls, especially older DD because we could not have a conversation that either of us was letting the other finish and I gotta tell you, with giving each person the 'floor' to tell a whole thought or story really makes them open up.  After each person finishes their story or thought, we have our give and take time (again, no interruptions allowed).  If you aren't used to it, it does take awhile to learn it (old habits) but I am glad we learned it because it is so much more respectful than any conversation I could have with my own FOO !
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: johelenc1 on April 19, 2013, 10:55:41 PM
Well, since you and DH have been having the same argument for 16 years, I would be less concerned with how "everyone else" carries on a conversation, and more concerned with how the two of you do.

The two of you don't have to do it either way.  You need to talk to each other in a way that works for your family.  In other words, you feel heard and he doesn't get bored waiting for someone to speak.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 20, 2013, 09:35:28 AM
I know someone who is the worst of both conversational worlds. They will interrupt, either with a sentence fragment said loudly enough to cut over anyone else who is speaking, or sometimes by raising their hand, and when they have shut everyone else up they will take long pauses and chew every word twice before letting it out of their mouth.  Any interruption to these portentous pronouncements, which are rarely to do with anything  important,  is  taken very badly indeed.  Drives me craaaazy. >:(


What, is he 10? My middle child will do this to his brother when he's not interested in the topic.  We're working on teaching him polite conversation but he loves pushing his brother's buttons.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 20, 2013, 08:09:46 PM
One other thought on families where interrupting isn't uncommon:

They don't actually expect you to STOP talking. There's an assumption that listening and talking can be done simultaneously.

One of the most annoying things about my DH is that he will stop and START OVER if you interrupt him for the tiniest thing. Which is really annoying because he tends to monopolize and pontificate.


DH: "So the British prime minister was--"
Me (to the other person int he room): "Did you get the drink you wanted?"
DH: "So the British prime minister was--"
Other person: "Yes, thanks"
DH: "So the British prime minister was--"

JUST KEEP GOING! What you are saying is not that difficult to follow--and it's not so important that we can't ask someone to pass the salt, or share a small exchange.

JUST KEEP TALKING! We don't want to sit there and hang on your every word. I know it makes him feel important, but ye gods--credit us with enough brains to be able to follow your long-winded story even while we're talking *briefly* about other stuff.

So for the OP, maybe you should just keep going.

(I'll say that one of the most fun nights I had recently, I was out with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time, and afterward it felt as if we had both talked constantly. And yet half of that conversation was asking follow-up questions about stuff the other person talked about. We didn't talk constantly in reality, but it sort of felt like it!)
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Raintree on April 21, 2013, 06:05:47 PM
DH: "So the British prime minister was--"
Me (to the other person int he room): "Did you get the drink you wanted?"

Yeah, but I HATE that!! I have two people in my family who are the interrupters, and it seems as though when they talk, they are allowed to finish, but when I talk, I get half a sentence out and get interrupted by a tangent conversation about having seconds, or "would you like a bit more gravy on that?" or something completely unrelated altogether (something that happened last week) that pops into the interrupter's head. So with these two people, and only these two people, I have resorted to your DH's tactic of starting all over again, just to drive home the point that I had kind of wanted to say something. And it's not that I am a conversation hog either; I am generally pretty quiet and low key, and with other people I find conversation to be much more of a two-way street.

It IS possible to indicate you would like salt to be passed to you without cutting someone off. "Sorry, one sec, can I have the salt? Thanks...go on...." Or a quiet "could I have the salt?" with a gesture or motion of the head, while maintaining eye contact and nodding at the speaker.

And, one of these interrupters in my family claims, as you do, that he can listen and carry on this second conversation at the same time. So I'll think I am clearing up plans for the next day, or explaining something important, and then later I get, "What? I thought we were...." and it becomes clear he hasn't heard a word I said.

The other day I was trying to share something amusing I'd seen on-line (on-topic to do with a current event we were talking about), and I was cut off after the first part with "Oh yeah, I totally agree, blah blah blah tangent on same topic...."  and I said, "But I'm not finished yet.....it said..." I was cut off again. After the third time I tried for the punchline and was cut off, I gave up. Later, I found the thing on-line and showed the interrupter, "This is what I was trying to tell you about earlier." Once he saw the whole thing, he thought it was hilarious and then wanted to share it with everyone.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Iris on April 21, 2013, 06:30:36 PM
DH: "So the British prime minister was--"
Me (to the other person int he room): "Did you get the drink you wanted?"

Yeah, but I HATE that!! I have two people in my family who are the interrupters, and it seems as though when they talk, they are allowed to finish, but when I talk, I get half a sentence out and get interrupted by a tangent conversation about having seconds, or "would you like a bit more gravy on that?" or something completely unrelated altogether (something that happened last week) that pops into the interrupter's head. So with these two people, and only these two people, I have resorted to your DH's tactic of starting all over again, just to drive home the point that I had kind of wanted to say something. And it's not that I am a conversation hog either; I am generally pretty quiet and low key, and with other people I find conversation to be much more of a two-way street.

It IS possible to indicate you would like salt to be passed to you without cutting someone off. "Sorry, one sec, can I have the salt? Thanks...go on...." Or a quiet "could I have the salt?" with a gesture or motion of the head, while maintaining eye contact and nodding at the speaker.

And, one of these interrupters in my family claims, as you do, that he can listen and carry on this second conversation at the same time. So I'll think I am clearing up plans for the next day, or explaining something important, and then later I get, "What? I thought we were...." and it becomes clear he hasn't heard a word I said.

The other day I was trying to share something amusing I'd seen on-line (on-topic to do with a current event we were talking about), and I was cut off after the first part with "Oh yeah, I totally agree, blah blah blah tangent on same topic...."  and I said, "But I'm not finished yet.....it said..." I was cut off again. After the third time I tried for the punchline and was cut off, I gave up. Later, I found the thing on-line and showed the interrupter, "This is what I was trying to tell you about earlier." Once he saw the whole thing, he thought it was hilarious and then wanted to share it with everyone.

This. People who multitask often only THINK they can multitask. Research shows that multitasking only works well when it is two totally unrelated things e.g. chopping carrots for dinner (physical, subconscious brain) and holding a conversation (verbal, conscious brain). Brains CANNOT simultaneously consciously hold the thoughts "This person is talking about X" and "I wonder if so and so wants gravy with that?" and give them both the same amount of concentration as if they were the only thing you were doing. You (general) may get the salient points and general gist, but it's still not really listening, so for example you may ask about the gravy twice, or realise that you haven't really understood what they are saying.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: TootsNYC on April 21, 2013, 07:52:34 PM
I think one of the reasons this happens to DH is that whatever he's talking about isn't that important. Yet. This is the boring part.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Raintree on April 22, 2013, 02:51:23 AM
I think one of the reasons this happens to DH is that whatever he's talking about isn't that important. Yet. This is the boring part.

Ah, but it might be important. I can tell who the people are that tune me out until they hear some key word that captures their attention (it's these same two people). Then once they realize it's interesting, they expect me to go back and explain it all again from the beginning.

Example (ridiculous example totally made up off the top of my head):

Me: This woman came into work today, and told me she was a professional rider of pink elephants in the circus. So I was chatting with her about the circus, and she said she had once been in a show and this tightrope walker fell 300 feet and landed right on top of her elephant! Luckily nobody was injured, but as compensation she was given all these free tickets to the hockey game and since she was so grateful for the work I did for her today, she gave me two free hockey tickets! Want to go?"

Bad listener (BL): "Free hockey tickets? Who gave you hockey tickets?"
Me: "The woman who was riding the elephant."
BL: "Riding an elephant? How come she was riding an elephant?"
Me: "Because she's in the circus. I told you, she rides elephants in a circus."
BL: "This is a friend of yours?"
Me: "No, a client at work I told you."
BL: "So how come she is giving you tickets to the hockey game?"
Me: "Because she was extra happy with the work I did."

And so on.

Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: TurtleDove on April 22, 2013, 05:17:00 AM
I think one of the reasons this happens to DH is that whatever he's talking about isn't that important. Yet. This is the boring part.

This.  I try to be a good listener, but some people really do not have the gift of storytelliing, IMHO.  If this is coupled with slow speech I have a very difficult time wanting to pay attention, and I find myself willing them to spit out whatever they are trying to say.  I can't hear the content because the delivery irritates me.  Thankfully, I cannot think of anyone in my family or close friends like this (which is a good thing all around because some people prefer slower speech and probably would find what this type of person says to be interesting). It's not so much a right or wrong, just a "we mesh well in our speech patterns" or "we don't."
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 22, 2013, 09:02:38 AM
I think one of the reasons this happens to DH is that whatever he's talking about isn't that important. Yet. This is the boring part.

This.  I try to be a good listener, but some people really do not have the gift of storytelliing, IMHO.  If this is coupled with slow speech I have a very difficult time wanting to pay attention, and I find myself willing them to spit out whatever they are trying to say.  I can't hear the content because the delivery irritates me.  Thankfully, I cannot think of anyone in my family or close friends like this (which is a good thing all around because some people prefer slower speech and probably would find what this type of person says to be interesting). It's not so much a right or wrong, just a "we mesh well in our speech patterns" or "we don't."

I agree.

I try hard with people who start out with the boring parts, slowly but its very unpleasant for me. I might not interrupt out loud, but I's screaming about story composition and flow in my mind the whole time, so the result of me not getting every details is the same result anyway.

I think one of the reasons this happens to DH is that whatever he's talking about isn't that important. Yet. This is the boring part.

Ah, but it might be important. I can tell who the people are that tune me out until they hear some key word that captures their attention (it's these same two people). Then once they realize it's interesting, they expect me to go back and explain it all again from the beginning.

Example (ridiculous example totally made up off the top of my head):

Me: This woman came into work today, and told me she was a professional rider of pink elephants in the circus. So I was chatting with her about the circus, and she said she had once been in a show and this tightrope walker fell 300 feet and landed right on top of her elephant! Luckily nobody was injured, but as compensation she was given all these free tickets to the hockey game and since she was so grateful for the work I did for her today, she gave me two free hockey tickets! Want to go?"

Bad listener (BL): "Free hockey tickets? Who gave you hockey tickets?"
Me: "The woman who was riding the elephant."
BL: "Riding an elephant? How come she was riding an elephant?"
Me: "Because she's in the circus. I told you, she rides elephants in a circus."
BL: "This is a friend of yours?"
Me: "No, a client at work I told you."
BL: "So how come she is giving you tickets to the hockey game?"
Me: "Because she was extra happy with the work I did."

And so on.



The solution is, because you can't change others only yourself, that if you find this happens, change how you tell the story. Say the meat part first and don't just give a speech - do actually allow for questions along the way because remember a conversation is a back-n-forth and a big block of just speaking is unlikely to hold their attention.

You: A woman gave me two free hockey tickets! Want to go?"
Listener: "Free hockey tickets? Who gave you hockey tickets?"
You: "This woman came into work today, and told me she was a professional rider of pink elephants in the circus. So I was chatting with her about the circus. She said she had once been in a show and this tightrope walker fell 300 feet and landed right on top of her elephant! Luckily nobody was injured, but as compensation she was given all these free tickets to the hockey game.
Listener: ""So how come she is giving you the tickets?"
You: "Because she was extra happy with the work I did."

Same information but presented differently you have drawn your listener in with curiosity instead of rambling on before you get to your point. Because honestly starting off with a story about a random stranger and their life, can be a boring prospect. But starting off with an exciting offer opens up to intrigue. People want to know how the story you are telling pertains to them. Maybe its about someone they care about, or a place or topic they are interested in, etc but its has to hold their attention if you want them to listen. A random woman who came into someone else's workplace doesn't pertain to them at all so they tune you out. Asking someone to go to an event does pertain to them so they are drawn in.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: artk2002 on April 22, 2013, 09:46:27 AM
The solution is, because you can't change others only yourself, that if you find this happens, change how you tell the story. Say the meat part first and don't just give a speech - do actually allow for questions along the way because remember a conversation is a back-n-forth and a big block of just speaking is unlikely to hold their attention.

You: A woman gave me two free hockey tickets! Want to go?"
Listener: "Free hockey tickets? Who gave you hockey tickets?"
You: "This woman came into work today, and told me she was a professional rider of pink elephants in the circus. So I was chatting with her about the circus. She said she had once been in a show and this tightrope walker fell 300 feet and landed right on top of her elephant! Luckily nobody was injured, but as compensation she was given all these free tickets to the hockey game.
Listener: ""So how come she is giving you the tickets?"
You: "Because she was extra happy with the work I did."

Same information but presented differently you have drawn your listener in with curiosity instead of rambling on before you get to your point. Because honestly starting off with a story about a random stranger and their life, can be a boring prospect. But starting off with an exciting offer opens up to intrigue. People want to know how the story you are telling pertains to them. Maybe its about someone they care about, or a place or topic they are interested in, etc but its has to hold their attention if you want them to listen. A random woman who came into someone else's workplace doesn't pertain to them at all so they tune you out. Asking someone to go to an event does pertain to them so they are drawn in.

Thank you! This is excellent advice for anyone trying to start a conversation. Don't give all the background information first! I have this problem with my sons, who give these convoluted stories full of personal pronouns without antecedents ("he"? Which he?) and references to other information ("Purple Pink Dragons"? Who are they? Oh, a band) that I don't have. It drives me nuts, and then they get shirty with me if I interrupt with the "He? Which he?" question; the usual response is "I'm getting to that!"
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 22, 2013, 11:31:28 AM
Interesting turn in the thread to storytelling ideas. I have one friend, Amy, who will tell me stories in excruciating detail--she will list every single person who was in the group with her, or every single thing she ate at a restaurant, for example, when those details are completely unnecessary for the story. I'm nearly used to it, though, so I just nod and wait for her to get to the point.

Another friend, Emma, kind of annoys me with her stories, though... I find them extremely difficult to follow. Even without me interrupting at all, she will tell parts out of order, go off on tangents, and use pronouns like "he" and "she" without explaining who she's talking about. I would feel like a police interrogator trying to straighten out the stories, I'd need to ask so many questions; so usually I just listen and nod along and react more to the emotional content (which seems to be the important part anyway), even if in the end I couldn't tell you who it was who said what, or when it happened, or what the real sequence of events was. It's really difficult to get a straightforward, linear answer out of her.

I think with my friends there's a lot of, Person A is telling a story, so they're doing most of the talking; but Person B is doing "active listening," where technically they're interrupting or at least jumping into pauses, but they're saying stuff that goes along with the story. Like (thank you, Raintree):

A: This woman came into work today, and told me she was a professional rider of pink elephants in the circus--

B: That's so cool! I love elephants.

A: --so I was chatting with her about the circus, and she said she had once been in a show and this tightrope walker fell 300 feet and landed right on top of her elephant!

B: Gasp! Crud monkeys! During a show? Was anyone hurt?

A: Luckily nobody was injured, but as compensation she was given all these free tickets to the hockey game--

B: Oh, wow, that's good. Free hockey tickets, that's random.

A: --and since she was so grateful for the work I did for her today, she gave me two free hockey tickets! Want to go?

B: Wow, that's awesome, that's so nice of her. No, I don't really like hockey, thanks though.


But probably with even more interruptions, actually. If it looks like the person is getting annoyed with me, though (like I'm talking to someone I don't know very well, and the interruptions seem to throw them off), I'll stay quiet longer.

My boss has yet another style, where she likes to do monologues about something that has irritated or worried her, and mainly I'm just supposed to sit there and nod, occasionally throwing in short, supportive comments. Another co-worker is "the Arguer" who will turn every conversation into a battle even if she actually supports what you're saying; and I'm "the Agreer." The boss likes to talk to both of us in turn, depending on her mood.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: EllenS on April 22, 2013, 12:12:06 PM
Example (ridiculous example totally made up off the top of my head):

Me: This woman came into work today, and told me she was a professional rider of pink elephants in the circus. So I was chatting with her about the circus, and she said she had once been in a show and this tightrope walker fell 300 feet and landed right on top of her elephant! Luckily nobody was injured, but as compensation she was given all these free tickets to the hockey game and since she was so grateful for the work I did for her today, she gave me two free hockey tickets! Want to go?"

Bad listener (BL): "Free hockey tickets? Who gave you hockey tickets?"
Me: "The woman who was riding the elephant."
BL: "Riding an elephant? How come she was riding an elephant?"
Me: "Because she's in the circus. I told you, she rides elephants in a circus."
BL: "This is a friend of yours?"
Me: "No, a client at work I told you."
BL: "So how come she is giving you tickets to the hockey game?"
Me: "Because she was extra happy with the work I did."

And so on.

Even though I am the less-talkative one compared to DH's family, I will interrupt him sometimes because of the way he tells stories. He would start the example story above, with:

DH: "And on the fifth day God created Elephants.  There are African elephants, and Asian elephants.  And, actually, my very favorite type of elephant is the kind you get in animal cookies - I like to bite the trunks off, first.  But not if there are any real elephants around, because their poop smells like rotten peanut butter, it really puts me off my appetite.  Speaking of which, we could get you a peanut-butter sandwich if you haven't had enough dinner.  That's what my mother-in-law always used to say if she thought someone didn't like her cooking..."

And you would get to the hockey tickets sometime next Tuesday.  So I interrupt and say something like, "could we jump ahead?" or "I thought you were going to tell me something that happened at work today?"
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Yvaine on April 22, 2013, 12:21:08 PM
I have one friend who I specifically have to tell, "Please give me the short and easy version." Because the long version, even if the story is about running out of milk, will somehow involve long-winded conversations he had on the Internet and technical jargon about ships. Don't ask me. But I know him really well and so my telling him to keep it short isn't really rude in this one context.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: turnip on April 22, 2013, 12:38:42 PM
DH and I tend to be on opposite sides as the OP.  In my family there is a lot of interrupting and interaction.  In DH's family, and with DH in particular, someone speaks ( I tend to think of them as 'lectures' ) for as long as they like, going off on innumerable tangents, and any interruption or even active feedback ( "Oh, I also enjoy peanuts on salads" ) are met with a kind of affronted glare.   

IMHO, there is a problem in that we are all taught from an early age that it is 'rude to interrupt'.  It is a true and good lesson and I agree with it.  However we are not well taught the corollary that it is rude to dominate a conversation and allow no one a chance to respond.  That is a little fuzzier, but it'd be nice if there was some sort of rule-of-thumb like "Make one point and then let other people have a chance to give feedback before moving on".

I find it exceedingly frustrating, particularly with the tangent-ing, because a talker may start on a topic I have opinions on ( e.g. software-piracy ) but before I've had a chance to give my opinions and experiences they've moved on to real-live piracy and the social conditions of sub-Saharan Africa. 
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Raintree on April 23, 2013, 03:35:17 AM
The solution is, because you can't change others only yourself, that if you find this happens, change how you tell the story. Say the meat part first and don't just give a speech - do actually allow for questions along the way because remember a conversation is a back-n-forth and a big block of just speaking is unlikely to hold their attention.

You: A woman gave me two free hockey tickets! Want to go?"
Listener: "Free hockey tickets? Who gave you hockey tickets?"
You: "This woman came into work today, and told me she was a professional rider of pink elephants in the circus. So I was chatting with her about the circus. She said she had once been in a show and this tightrope walker fell 300 feet and landed right on top of her elephant! Luckily nobody was injured, but as compensation she was given all these free tickets to the hockey game.
Listener: ""So how come she is giving you the tickets?"
You: "Because she was extra happy with the work I did."

Same information but presented differently you have drawn your listener in with curiosity instead of rambling on before you get to your point. Because honestly starting off with a story about a random stranger and their life, can be a boring prospect. But starting off with an exciting offer opens up to intrigue. People want to know how the story you are telling pertains to them. Maybe its about someone they care about, or a place or topic they are interested in, etc but its has to hold their attention if you want them to listen. A random woman who came into someone else's workplace doesn't pertain to them at all so they tune you out. Asking someone to go to an event does pertain to them so they are drawn in.

I agree, and perhaps I gave a bad example. I know what you mean, because my mother's conversational style, if she wants to tell me about the free hockey tickets, would be:

"I was on my way to the grocery store, because I was home and about to make soup, when I realized I hadn't bought any carrots the last time I went. And I had to visit the doctor up there anyway, so I thought I'd combine it with a trip to the grocery store. And then I ran into a friend, who I used to work with at Acme Corporation, but she retired a long time ago and I haven't seen her in 15 years. She and her husband have just split up and she was grocery shopping for her new home. She said she had met a woman who rides elephants in the circus, and this crazy thing happened and she ended up giving her free hockey tickets, because apparently the woman who rides elephants doesn't like hockey...."

I don't think I'm THAT bad!! But sometimes I have to give a SMALL amount of background info for the story to make sense. When I hit the key word of interest, I'm met with "Huh? How? Who? What are you talking about?" which necessitates my going back to repeat from the beginning.

Interesting thread and different takes on conversational styles.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 23, 2013, 10:04:04 AM
^^
In college I took creative writing class with a professor who loved a Barogue style of writing. He wanted your prose to be overly dramatic. I found the style tedious and difficult for me. I wanted to "just get to the point".

The next semester I took a business communication class. I was giddy with excitement because the class required you to state the point of the communication up front and only include relevant information. 

I find I edit my speech in a similar fashion. 
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 23, 2013, 10:21:48 AM
The solution is, because you can't change others only yourself, that if you find this happens, change how you tell the story. Say the meat part first and don't just give a speech - do actually allow for questions along the way because remember a conversation is a back-n-forth and a big block of just speaking is unlikely to hold their attention.

You: A woman gave me two free hockey tickets! Want to go?"
Listener: "Free hockey tickets? Who gave you hockey tickets?"
You: "This woman came into work today, and told me she was a professional rider of pink elephants in the circus. So I was chatting with her about the circus. She said she had once been in a show and this tightrope walker fell 300 feet and landed right on top of her elephant! Luckily nobody was injured, but as compensation she was given all these free tickets to the hockey game.
Listener: ""So how come she is giving you the tickets?"
You: "Because she was extra happy with the work I did."

Same information but presented differently you have drawn your listener in with curiosity instead of rambling on before you get to your point. Because honestly starting off with a story about a random stranger and their life, can be a boring prospect. But starting off with an exciting offer opens up to intrigue. People want to know how the story you are telling pertains to them. Maybe its about someone they care about, or a place or topic they are interested in, etc but its has to hold their attention if you want them to listen. A random woman who came into someone else's workplace doesn't pertain to them at all so they tune you out. Asking someone to go to an event does pertain to them so they are drawn in.

I agree, and perhaps I gave a bad example. I know what you mean, because my mother's conversational style, if she wants to tell me about the free hockey tickets, would be:

"I was on my way to the grocery store, because I was home and about to make soup, when I realized I hadn't bought any carrots the last time I went. And I had to visit the doctor up there anyway, so I thought I'd combine it with a trip to the grocery store. And then I ran into a friend, who I used to work with at Acme Corporation, but she retired a long time ago and I haven't seen her in 15 years. She and her husband have just split up and she was grocery shopping for her new home. She said she had met a woman who rides elephants in the circus, and this crazy thing happened and she ended up giving her free hockey tickets, because apparently the woman who rides elephants doesn't like hockey...."

I don't think I'm THAT bad!! But sometimes I have to give a SMALL amount of background info for the story to make sense. When I hit the key word of interest, I'm met with "Huh? How? Who? What are you talking about?" which necessitates my going back to repeat from the beginning.

Interesting thread and different takes on conversational styles.

Well sometimes if you want to give a bunch of background you can give a teaser bit of info first. Maybe you don't want to lead with the hockey tickets because you think the background is interesting but you can still open with "I got really exciting offer today!" or "can I tell you a funny story?" or "ok you'll want to hear this - bear with a moment's background though" or "oh my gosh I totally thought of your today" - these openers let the listener know you aren't just rambling on about something random that happened, you are getting to a funny comment, or exciting news, or something that pertains to the listener.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: EllenS on April 23, 2013, 10:24:20 AM
Well, if someone already feels disregarded, insignificant and ignored because they are being interrupted, it does not help to tell them, "I wouldn't interrupt you if you weren't so darn BORING!"
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: TurtleDove on April 23, 2013, 10:43:15 AM
Well, if someone already feels disregarded, insignificant and ignored because they are being interrupted, it does not help to tell them, "I wouldn't interrupt you if you weren't so darn BORING!"

I kinda think it might help them to know that their style of communication is not working for them.  Then they can either change their style or find friends who appreciate their existing style.  But in my experience, as another poster (I forget who) stated, just because I am not interrupting does not mean I am listening to what a person is saying.  If I find the topic or delivery to be annoying, I am working very hard to get past the annoyance (for me, slow speech or "why would I care about this?" topics) and not really taking it in anyway. 

If a person is close to me, I would tell them that their communication style is troublesome to me.  If not, I would distance myself from that person and grin and bear it when I have to converse with them. 
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 23, 2013, 10:55:36 AM
Well, if someone already feels disregarded, insignificant and ignored because they are being interrupted, it does not help to tell them, "I wouldn't interrupt you if you weren't so darn BORING!"

It might not help them emotionally but it should help them practically.

The reality is, some people are boring. Some people can take a funny 3 minute story and drag into a 6 minute boring "why do I care about this at all is there anyone else here I can turn to and chat with instead" ordeal.

Conversation is a skill. Its something that has to be learned. Some people pick it up innately, at a very young age and only have to hone their skill a small bit. Other people need more practice and guidance. There is nothing wrong with needing a bit more tweaking to your conversation style. But in order to improve you need to recognize your problem areas. For some people its volume, other tone, others timing, others composition, and yes for some its the listening portion, but regardless its pretty ridiculous to complain about people reacting badly to your conversations and them blaming them without taking any responsibility.

Responsibility for good, pleasant and effective communication is on both the speaker and the listener. If a person notices they are often interrupted or ignored by just one person, well then most of the responsibility lays on the interrupter. But if a person notices they are often interrupted/ignored by all sorts of people, then the problem probably lays with their speaking style. Either way though, since you can't change anyone but yourself, the solution is for the speaker to change, either just when speaking with certain folks, or overall, depending where the issue is.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: EllenS on April 23, 2013, 11:13:48 AM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 23, 2013, 11:26:34 AM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.

Um... I'm not getting your point. Of course in this ^ scenario the wife is getting interrupted. She's just a broken record repeating the exact same phrase over and over and over absolutely dismissing and ignoring her husband's responses instead of addressing them. All she is saying is "I also feel upset that you are modelling this..." She said it once, then again, then a third time. Each time she speaks she needs to say new words. There is no reason in the word an adult should listen to the exact same words repeatedly - how extraordinarily condescending of her! Head over to the family board and read the "rate the rudeness" thread for more insight on that type of 'conversation' style and how people react to it.


Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: Actually no they don't, and even if they do, we are not 'everyone'
Husband: Well everyone I know does speak like that
Wife: You know me and I don't, and I should matter more then everyone else.
Husband: I really don't understand the problem
Wife: I feel unlistened to and I'm asking as your wife and partner if we can please try to change our conversation patterns.

And take it from there.

I also think its of note that even in your proposed conversation you have the interrupter/husband speaking in short sound bite sentences, while the interrupted/wife is trying to get in a monologue of multiple sentences. Sometimes its not so much of a case of "boring" as "not enough allowance for back and forth".
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 23, 2013, 11:28:59 AM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.

Ouch! "Husband" doesn't come off too well here, does he? I thought the wife was going along well in her attempt to tell him what the problem was, until she decided to just forget about it. Not that I blame her emotionally, but giving in isn't going to solve the problem. Maybe some kind of "conversation stick" as someone else mentioned might be a good idea--probably some people don't even realize how much they interrupt. I might even ask the person to put a small piece of tape over their mouth or something--sounds ridiculous, but it would just be to instantly remind them they weren't supposed to be talking, and maybe drive home how much they interrupt. Of course for either of those ideas the other person has to be willing to work with you, as "husband" obviously isn't.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: EllenS on April 23, 2013, 11:35:51 AM

Um... I'm not getting your point.

Yes, I see that!  ;)

The wife and husband have radically different communication styles.  Neither one is right, and neither one is wrong.  She thinks in complete thoughts, and feels she has to prepare in advance what she wants to say because it is emotionally difficult for her.  If she is interrupted, she a) feels unheard, and b) loses her place of what she was trying to express.  She has to back up and repeat herself because she has lost herself.

The husband, instead of hearing or validating her feelings, is arguing facts (or his version of the facts).  You may feel that the wife's communication style is "wrong" or "condescending", or that she "should" speak differently.  She is not able to easily switch communication styles because her brain does not work that way.

For the husband to say that the wife is "wrong" and that "nobody" speaks that way, (as in the OP) is to say that the wife's upbringing and family are "wrong" and that she "should" be different than she is - from her brain wiring on out.  You may agree with the husband, but for him to press his point in this way is very bad for the relationship.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Moray on April 23, 2013, 11:37:10 AM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.

Ouch! "Husband" doesn't come off too well here, does he? I thought the wife was going along well in her attempt to tell him what the problem was, until she decided to just forget about it. Not that I blame her emotionally, but giving in isn't going to solve the problem. Maybe some kind of "conversation stick" as someone else mentioned might be a good idea--probably some people don't even realize how much they interrupt. I might even ask the person to put a small piece of tape over their mouth or something--sounds ridiculous, but it would just be to instantly remind them they weren't supposed to be talking, and maybe drive home how much they interrupt. Of course for either of those ideas the other person has to be willing to work with you, as "husband" obviously isn't.

See, and I read the example similarly to WillyNilly. Both parties come off as not really wanting to converse. Is it annoying when "husband" interrupts and invalidates? Yes, absolutely. However, the "wife's" insistance on finishing her prepared sentance without even acknowledging the husband has spoken is just as uncommunicative. Conversation is a give and take. So if an interruption happens, address it, acknowledge it, even to say "please let me finish" and then finish your piece. This isn't some random person coming up and interrupting, this is input from the person you're speaking to, and who you presumably want to listen to you.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 23, 2013, 11:55:25 AM
I'm not saying the husband isn't being rude to use words like "wrong" and "nobody" but I think the wife was equally insulting to the husband in your situation. She wanted to say something and refused to interact with her husband, she didn't want a conversation she wanted to lecture. A sentence, a single sentence, is a complete thought. That's the definition of "sentence". She wanted multiple sentences, multiple complete thoughts.

Its not wrong per-say to want multiple sentences, but it needs to be recognized that its taking a larger share. And sure that happens - fair is not always equal 50/50, sometimes fair is 60/40 or even 80/20. That's cool, but to someone who sees conversation as an exchange of sentences, not a sit and listen for a while session, that needs to be communicated.

At some point she could say "please just let me get out these three sentences. I'm repeating because I'm loosing my train of thought." But instead of asking for what she wants, she's criticizing him.

She's not proposing the solution (back to my earlier points about getting to the meat first - here "let me say three sentences" is the "hockey tickets") she's giving the background information first and she's loosing her audience before she even starts.

Wife: I'd like to propose an idea
Husband: what?
Wife: We aren't busy now, so I'd like to try to tell you something that I think would stop us from having the same fight over and over again
Husband: ok shoot
Wife: I tend to think in bigger terms then I can get out in a single sentence. I'd like to ask that you try to give me at least three sentences before you respond.
Husband: this again?
Wife: please just humor me. Three sentences. Remember a happy wife leads to a happy life.
Husband: [sigh] ok go
Wife: I'd really like us to work together to find a middle ground so we can not argue and so we can model a better conversation style for our children. I feel hurt and ignored when I'm interrupted. I don't want that to be our norm.

Etc. She pulls him in with the intrigue of an idea. She gives in incentive (no more fighting). She starts off slowly to ease him into the conversation. And then she shows some compromise by limiting herself to three sentences. And I bet if this went on, he'd start to ease up and she'd get in more then 3 sentences once in a while.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: wolfie on April 23, 2013, 11:57:56 AM
Do people really only say one sentence before someone else says something? I am thinking back on my conversations with friends and it seems like it is a give and take but it is usually more then "one sound bite" per person. Usually 2 to 3 sentences, then the other person responds and so forth. I think I would have a hard time having a conversation if I had to make sure that everything was a one sentence sound bite.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: ClaireC79 on April 23, 2013, 11:59:40 AM
but in her first sentence she keeps adding ands to make 1 sentence the length of three
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 23, 2013, 12:15:19 PM
Do people really only say one sentence before someone else says something? I am thinking back on my conversations with friends and it seems like it is a give and take but it is usually more then "one sound bite" per person. Usually 2 to 3 sentences, then the other person responds and so forth. I think I would have a hard time having a conversation if I had to make sure that everything was a one sentence sound bite.

Some do and some don't. Most people probably fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of 1 sentence versus 5 sentences at a time.
Neither way is right or wrong, but obviously there are ends of the spectrum and for a 5 sentence person and 1 sentence person, 3 sentences is a nice compromise, or starting out with exchanging 1 sentence at a time and then building up to 4 or 5 sentences. But to hit a 1 sentence kinda person with 3, 4 or 5 sentences right from the get-go is almost never going to work well. Just like a 5 sentence person is going to feel like they are pulling teeth to get information out of a 1 sentence kinda person constantly (although in my experience interrupters are not the kind of people you need to pull information out of, they are more the 'ease into longer blocks of taking' types).
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: TurtleDove on April 23, 2013, 01:54:45 PM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.

This would drive me insane (what the wife is doing, I mean).  I would be surprised to find such different conversation styles as a married couple - how would they have gotten so far when they cannot communicate?  For me, I am a talkative and animated person, as is my BF.  I would say we both interrupt each other, but we also know when not to, if that makes sense.  I don't think either of us is rude at all.  The conversation flows naturally.  To me, people who claim they are "interrupted" generally have a different vision of what a natural conversation flow should look like.

I am reminded of being in court arguing motions.  It is not at all uncommon for a judge to interrupt a lawyer (who has prepared what she wants to convery very well) with, essentially, "yeah, yeah, I know all that, what about X?"  Not rude, just how it is.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Iris on April 23, 2013, 07:29:09 PM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.

This would drive me insane (what the wife is doing, I mean).  I would be surprised to find such different conversation styles as a married couple - how would they have gotten so far when they cannot communicate?  For me, I am a talkative and animated person, as is my BF.  I would say we both interrupt each other, but we also know when not to, if that makes sense.  I don't think either of us is rude at all.  The conversation flows naturally.  To me, people who claim they are "interrupted" generally have a different vision of what a natural conversation flow should look like.

I am reminded of being in court arguing motions.  It is not at all uncommon for a judge to interrupt a lawyer (who has prepared what she wants to convery very well) with, essentially, "yeah, yeah, I know all that, what about X?"  Not rude, just how it is.

See, whereas here I just see an extremely rude and uncaring husband. I wouldn't deal with it the way that the wife in this example did, but she was making a point, talking about something that she feels *hurt and ignored* by and he couldn't let her finish her second sentence? Because she didn't express her emotions about a serious marriage issue (communication) as a trial lawyer might? This is not a boring and unimportant story about the British Prime Minister or a woman at work with hockey tickets, this is plainly and from the offset a serious point about how his wife is feeling about an issue.

A judge can cut someone off like that because they are conducting a trial and their job is to ensure a timely and just trial, not care about what a lawyer has to say or how they are expressing themselves. Similarly a chairperson at a meeting or a teacher at a Q and A session may cut off a long winded, repititious question. At a party you can tease a friend or walk away from a stranger who takes a thousand years (give or take  ;)) to tell a simple anecdote. In no way are any of these acceptable models for interactions between a husband and a wife on a serious matter, imo.

Personally after the first interruption I would have said "Clearly you are not interested in what I have to say. That sends a clear message to me about your priorities regarding my feelings" and walked away. Of course with the husband in THIS example I probably wouldn't get past "Clearly you are not interested..." and the first complete sentence he actually got through would be on the divorce papers, but that's just me.

In general, even when no marriage is in question, being able to listen politely to others while at least *appearing* interested is a social grace that also can help in your career. Cutting off is fine amongst friends/family who are all in sync, but doing it with anyone else risks offending and alienating them.



ETA:- On rereading it sounds like I was saying the hockey ticket story or the one about the BPM were boring and unimportant. I meant a boring story OR one that is relatively unimportant (compared to the feelings of a spouse). I never got to hear the BPM story, but I thought the hockey tickets circus lady was very interesting  :)
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Raintree on April 23, 2013, 08:43:54 PM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.

This would drive me insane (what the wife is doing, I mean).  I would be surprised to find such different conversation styles as a married couple - how would they have gotten so far when they cannot communicate?  For me, I am a talkative and animated person, as is my BF.  I would say we both interrupt each other, but we also know when not to, if that makes sense.  I don't think either of us is rude at all.  The conversation flows naturally.  To me, people who claim they are "interrupted" generally have a different vision of what a natural conversation flow should look like.

I am reminded of being in court arguing motions.  It is not at all uncommon for a judge to interrupt a lawyer (who has prepared what she wants to convery very well) with, essentially, "yeah, yeah, I know all that, what about X?"  Not rude, just how it is.

See, whereas here I just see an extremely rude and uncaring husband. I wouldn't deal with it the way that the wife in this example did, but she was making a point, talking about something that she feels *hurt and ignored* by and he couldn't let her finish her second sentence? Because she didn't express her emotions about a serious marriage issue (communication) as a trial lawyer might? This is not a boring and unimportant story about the British Prime Minister or a woman at work with hockey tickets, this is plainly and from the offset a serious point about how his wife is feeling about an issue.

POD. If you aren't interested in what I was about to say about the British Prime Minister, or the hockey tickets, fine, go converse with someone that interests you (and I'll give the hockey tickets to someone else), but if we are trying to resolve a relationship difficulty, can't you just  hear me out? (General you). How can we get to the bottom of this if all you do is cut me off about how I just need to relax, and that I'm just so boring so any problem between us is entirely my fault?

I've had this kind of communication issue with my mother all my life. I'm not allowed to spit out a complete thought, and she jumps in with a defense against what she THINKS I'm going to say, rather than what I'm actually planning to say.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: *inviteseller on April 23, 2013, 10:23:54 PM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.

This would drive me insane (what the wife is doing, I mean).  I would be surprised to find such different conversation styles as a married couple - how would they have gotten so far when they cannot communicate?  For me, I am a talkative and animated person, as is my BF.  I would say we both interrupt each other, but we also know when not to, if that makes sense.  I don't think either of us is rude at all.  The conversation flows naturally.  To me, people who claim they are "interrupted" generally have a different vision of what a natural conversation flow should look like.

I am reminded of being in court arguing motions.  It is not at all uncommon for a judge to interrupt a lawyer (who has prepared what she wants to convery very well) with, essentially, "yeah, yeah, I know all that, what about X?"  Not rude, just how it is.

See, whereas here I just see an extremely rude and uncaring husband. I wouldn't deal with it the way that the wife in this example did, but she was making a point, talking about something that she feels *hurt and ignored* by and he couldn't let her finish her second sentence? Because she didn't express her emotions about a serious marriage issue (communication) as a trial lawyer might? This is not a boring and unimportant story about the British Prime Minister or a woman at work with hockey tickets, this is plainly and from the offset a serious point about how his wife is feeling about an issue.

POD. If you aren't interested in what I was about to say about the British Prime Minister, or the hockey tickets, fine, go converse with someone that interests you (and I'll give the hockey tickets to someone else), but if we are trying to resolve a relationship difficulty, can't you just  hear me out? (General you). How can we get to the bottom of this if all you do is cut me off about how I just need to relax, and that I'm just so boring so any problem between us is entirely my fault?

I've had this kind of communication issue with my mother all my life. I'm not allowed to spit out a complete thought, and she jumps in with a defense against what she THINKS I'm going to say, rather than what I'm actually planning to say.
I agree.  It is rude to discount a person's conversation because they can't wrap up a thought in 5 words or less, and interrupting a person for any other reason than there is a shark behind them is rude, to me.  If that was my husband in the example, I would just quit talking.  If I was interrupted every time I attempted to speak to basically be told what I had to say was boring or not worth listening to, then I have nothing to say at all.   My family does this to me ( I think because I am the youngest by a chunk of years and no one sees me as able to sit at the adult table yet) and it leaves me hurt and frustrated.  Yes, there are some people that just go off on tangents, but there is polite ways to bring them back to topic without eye rolling, sighing, or interrupting.  While you (general) may not like the story I am telling, it is polite to listen to it without making me feel like the village idiot.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: TurtleDove on April 24, 2013, 06:52:01 AM
I think I have been misunderstood. My point is not that everyone should converse like a trial lawyer or how my BF and I converse. My point was that it would surprise me that the wife in the example would choose to be married to someone like the husband when their styles of conversing are so different. The wife in the example was crushed by her husband's comments and shut down. In contrast, I would have said my piece with no fear in response to the husband's comments (and while I would not have acted how the husband did, it would irritate me that my spouse was not able to stand up for herself if she felt wronged, but would instead just shut down.) Neither of us is right, neither is wrong, I just don't think the husband and wife in the example are a good match.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Venus193 on April 24, 2013, 06:59:41 AM
Quote
It is rude to discount a person's conversation because they can't wrap up a thought in 5 words or less, and interrupting a person for any other reason than there is a shark behind them is rude, to me.  If that was my husband in the example, I would just quit talking.  If I was interrupted every time I attempted to speak to basically be told what I had to say was boring or not worth listening to, then I have nothing to say at all.   My family does this to me ( I think because I am the youngest by a chunk of years and no one sees me as able to sit at the adult table yet) and it leaves me hurt and frustrated.  Yes, there are some people that just go off on tangents, but there is polite ways to bring them back to topic without eye rolling, sighing, or interrupting.  While you (general) may not like the story I am telling, it is polite to listen to it without making me feel like the village idiot.

Do you really want to stop talking?  If so, fine.  However, sometimes that is the objective of the interrupter.

Rather than permit anyone in the family situation to make me feel small and insignificant I would just take my leave.

Tangent Warning:  This may be a category of its own.

Once at Brunnhilde's place two old friends of hers with whom she had reconnected on Facebook were over and after a couple of hours every time I said something they would interrupt with double entendres that short-circuited the rest of what I was trying to say.  At the fifth incident (she was in the kitchen during the first two) she called them out on it by saying "Alright, guys, cut that out."  Had she not done this I would have excused myself and gotten my coat.
Title: Re: How do you converse?
Post by: Lynn2000 on April 24, 2013, 12:10:05 PM
Wife: I wish you wouldn't interrupt me when we are talking at dinner, I feel hurt and ignored when you do that.  I also feel upset that you are modelling this
Husband: Oh, everybody talks like that.
Wife: ...I also feel upset that you are modelling this...
Husband: you just need to relax
Wife: ...that you are modelling this for our chil...
Husband: I wouldn't interrupt you anyway, except that you take too long to tell stories and they are always boring.
Wife: Oh, forget it. 
Husband: Geez, you're touchy, too!

"useful" lessons in communication are not always good for the relationship.

This would drive me insane (what the wife is doing, I mean).  I would be surprised to find such different conversation styles as a married couple - how would they have gotten so far when they cannot communicate?  For me, I am a talkative and animated person, as is my BF.  I would say we both interrupt each other, but we also know when not to, if that makes sense.  I don't think either of us is rude at all.  The conversation flows naturally.  To me, people who claim they are "interrupted" generally have a different vision of what a natural conversation flow should look like.

I am reminded of being in court arguing motions.  It is not at all uncommon for a judge to interrupt a lawyer (who has prepared what she wants to convery very well) with, essentially, "yeah, yeah, I know all that, what about X?"  Not rude, just how it is.

See, whereas here I just see an extremely rude and uncaring husband. I wouldn't deal with it the way that the wife in this example did, but she was making a point, talking about something that she feels *hurt and ignored* by and he couldn't let her finish her second sentence? Because she didn't express her emotions about a serious marriage issue (communication) as a trial lawyer might? This is not a boring and unimportant story about the British Prime Minister or a woman at work with hockey tickets, this is plainly and from the offset a serious point about how his wife is feeling about an issue.

I agree with Iris. Okay, so they have different communication styles, and neither is right or wrong (and yes, sometimes I do wonder how people who are so different ended up together). But in this example the husband interrupts her dismissively, when she's just said that being interrupted dismissively makes her feel "hurt and ignored." If there's one time that he should restrain himself and let her speak fully, unnatural though it may be for him, it's now. It's like he's not even listening to what she's saying, or doesn't care at all that she feels hurt and ignored by something he does. To me that's the rude and insensitive part about the husband.