How We Are an Interrupting Culture


Interrupting has become a common practice in everyday conversation. It has a very frustrating effect on anyone when they get interrupted. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Weld)

Most people raise their family with the idea that when a person is talking, everyone else must wait until he/she is no longer speaking to reply.  This is because interfering with the flow of presentation is considered rude and means conversation is more difficult; less information exchanged.  

Others, however, teach their family members that if someone is talking and the person listening thinks of something to say, then just to say it.  These people might view any silence mid-conversation as rude, as the person listening must be showing their boredom.

It seems that in recent years, interruption is becoming a part of everyday conversation.  From work to politics, people are so eager to share their ideas and enthusiastic about controlling the conversation.  

Claire McDonnell, who has a job in the STEM field, was on a work call with her peers, and they kept interrupting her mid-sentence with their own ideas.  She recorded the conversation and uploaded it, and people viewed it over 3 million times.   People in the comments wanted to put her peers in their place.  User @jujuraul wrote, “this made me so MAD.”

At the presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, both parties kept interrupting each other. Joe Biden even said, “Will you shut up man?”  Despite Biden speaking five minutes longer, Trump managed to interrupt Biden a total of 73 times. 

Trump did this to avoid “tough questions” or deliver messages about why he doesn’t like Biden. This left Biden frustrated, and at one point he commented, “it’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”  

We have become an interrupting culture in recent years because we are so eager to share our ideas and points of view, and sometimes don’t even consider other people.  However, most people hate being interrupted themselves.  Some people when asked if they get interrupted said that it’s frustrating because they cannot say their own words, and people who interrupt are impatient.  When talking to another person, it’s important to not only share your own ideas, but to listen to what others have to say.


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