Interrupting Cow wh..(MOO!) o?
When did it become okay to interrupt?
When did it become standard practice to finish other peoples sentences, too?
When did it become common practice to deny that there’s anything wrong with either habit, and even defend it?
Interrupting shows impatience with the other person, and lack of respect. Finishing someone else’s sentences implies that they are too slow or too stupid. Even if it’s seen as “helping” the other person, it’s also saying that the other person isn’t competent to speak.
Are we so impatient as a society, so used to instant gratification that we have forgotten how to speak or listen?
The argument that since it’s a common practice in many cultures, that makes it okay, doesn’t really work here. All that means is many cultures consider it okay to be rude and dehumanizing. Many cultures have a lack of patience. Well, some cultures still have a belief that it’s okay to defecate on the side of the road too, but that doesn’t make it sanitary. Some cultures consider loud smacking of lips to be a compliment to the chef, but that doesn’t mean you can do it at a fancy company lunch in the US or Britain or Canada or, well, a bunch of places.
When considered in an unbiased way, it’s clear that interrupting another person is a barrier to communication. It also communicates the idea that the interruptor is more important than the one who is interrupted. It can also lead to animosity and conflict, further degrading communication.
Besides, isn’t interrupting another person a sign of poor impulse control? I know it is when I do it. I turn into the Interrupting Cow.
We’ve known that interrupting others is rude for quite a long time, but just like when a person is called out for bad grammar or spelling, they either defend themselves or are defended by others. Because, you see, if you have a REASON to be rude, you’re not really rude, isn’t that how it works? Only it’s not a reason, it’s usually a rationalization.
Those things being considered, wouldn’t it be a good idea if we all tried to avoid interrupting? Even if it still happens, which it will, we can chip away at the habit of it, and stop telling ourselves it’s perfectly okay to do. It’s not.