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Interrupting When in Conflict – A No No!

It is common when we are in conflict, that as our emotions escalate, many of us tend to interrupt more and listen less. We might interrupt for many reasons, including that we want to get heard; we are strongly disagreeing with what the other person is saying; we are getting more and more hurt and angry; we perceive that whatever is being said or done undermines and challenges something important for us. Other reasons may be we find it difficult to hear the truth or the 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. Further reasons for interrupting may include a need to be right that is shown by not giving the other person time and space to express their views and be heard, too. These and other reasons undoubtedly preclude de-escalation of the tempers and negative energy that are rising steadily.

Interrupting is a habit for some people who listen to talk rather than to hear. And the tendency that we may have to interrupt in any case 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 from this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog.

  • How might you define 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 likely to interrupt the other person when you are in conflict with them?
  • When you interrupt, what impact on the other person do you notice?
  • How does interrupting by either of you help the conflict conversation? In what ways does it 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, when they interrupt you that may facilitate a more productive conversation?
  • What needs to happen for you to refrain from interrupting?
  • How may that happen?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE

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