DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner, my sister and my best friend all seem to think it’s OK to interrupt me when I’m saying something. I was taught that it is extremely rude to interrupt and try very hard (mostly successfully) never to interrupt another person who is talking. They all know that it bothers me, but they still do it. I feel very disrespected, put down and offended when this happens, feeling that they don’t think anything I have to say is important or worth hearing.
I am rapidly losing my patience, and am afraid at some point I’m going to explode and tell all of them never to speak to me again until they can learn to let me finish a sentence. What can I politely say or do to get it across to them that this is NOT OK with me?
GENTLE READER: One fortunate side effect of physical distancing, Miss Manners hears, is that the technical limitations of web conferencing have forced people to be more conscious of interruption -- since two or more cannot easily be heard over one another. Miss Manners is hopeful that this mindfulness will carry over, but will not hold her breath.
She suggests that you invoke this rule and practice with your circle: “I am finding it very difficult to hear or talk with all of us going at once. Perhaps we can take turns and make sure that each of us is finished speaking before the next one starts.” If this fails, Miss Manners suggests that, rather than exploding, you stop talking -- turn off your audio, as it were -- and see how long it takes for them to notice.