I’m Being Interrupted at Work. How Do I Make It Stop?


There’s a guy on my team who constantly interrupts me at work.  If another teammate asks me a question directly, he’ll start answering at the same time I do!  Even if he’s the one asking me a question, he’ll interrupt me after I barely get three words out of my mouth, trying to anticipate what I’m saying. 
I don’t think this guy has bad intentions, and he interrupts everyone, not just me.  I’m really starting to become annoyed, though, and as the only woman on my team, I don’t want anyone else thinking it’s okay to interrupt me when I’m speaking.

I really don’t want to resort to “shh”-ing him or interrupting him back, because I don’t want to seem rude.  What can I do? 

-Girl, Interrupted 

Dear Interrupted, 

I, too, once worked with a chronic interrupter–the difference between yours and mine being that mine was definitely talking over me because I’m a woman.  It sounds like your teammate interrupts everyone, though, regardless of their gender, and I doubt you’re the only one on your team who is annoyed by this behavior. 

Since you mention that his interrupting doesn’t seem to be malicious, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps he grew up in a large family that constantly talked over each other, maybe he has ADHD or another condition that affects impulse control, or maybe he’s really just that excited about whatever you’re working on.  There’s a chance he doesn’t realize just how much interrupting he’s doing at work. 

Have any of your teammates called him out on it before?  If your working relationship is good (other than the interrupting), perhaps you can try pulling him aside and explaining how his constant interruptions are disrupting your own workflow.  Or, if you’re not on the best terms with this guy, or think he may react poorly to criticism, it may be best to take this to your direct manager so that they can have a conversation with him instead.

If he has been called out on this behavior, and continues to do it, then I do think it’s time to resort to politely interrupting him back.  You don’t need to “shh” him (I agree, that’s rude), but you could try a brief interjection like, “Excuse me, I wasn’t done speaking” or “Please wait until I finish my thought”.  Your interrupting teammate is already being the rude one in this situation, and you gain nothing by allowing him to continue his bad behavior.  Even if the interrupting continues, at least you’ll show other colleagues that you won’t allow rudeness to go unnoticed.

Hope you get to finish a sentence soon,


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