art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Interrupting When in Conflict

It is common when we are in conflict, that as our emotions escalate, many of us tend to interrupt more and listen less. We interrupt for a number of reasons, including that we perceive that whatever is being said or done undermines and challenges something important for us. Or, we find it difficult to hear the truth or falsehood of what the other person is saying, or we figure we know what the person is about to say and have limited patience or time. Other reasons for interrupting may include a need to be right that is shown by not giving the other person time and space to express his or her views and be heard, too. Interrupting is a habit for some people who listen to talk rather than to hear.

The tendency that we may have to interrupt may be accentuated during conflict. It helps in the quest for conflict mastery to do some reflection on what is happening for you if interrupting is something you are inclined to do or react to. Here are some questions to think about:

  • What is your definition of interrupting?
  • What are two words you would use to describe the impact on you when people interrupt you?
  • What is it about others interrupting you that results in the impact you described?
  • Under what circumstances are you more likely to interrupt the other person when you are in conflict with them?
  • When you interrupt him or her, what impact on the other person do you notice?
  • How does interrupting by either of you help the conflict conversation? Hinder it?
  • When people interrupt you when you are in conflict with them, what are you aware of that you may be doing or saying at those times (that seems to result in them interrupting you)?
  • What ways may you respond to the other person, at the time he or she interrupts you that may facilitate a more productive conversation?
  • What needs to happen for you to refrain from interrupting?
  • How may that happen?

What comments do you have about this topic? Or, what other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) about interrupting may work here?

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