Has anyone told you that you interrupt a lot?
Interrupting is actually one of the signs of AD/HD, listed in the Hyperactivity- Impulsivity category in the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for clinicians):
“Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).”
So, what do you gain by interrupting?
And what do you lose?
In terms of losses, we all know that interrupting can be a problem both at work and in personal relationships. For some people, the impact is relatively minor and for others it can be significant.
If you think interrupting is a problem for you, take stock of the role interrupting plays in your life… and then consider some strategies to shift that role.
1. When do you notice yourself interrupting?
Consider keeping track of the situations and frequency surrounding your interrupting behavior. Once you are clear about this, you can better strategize ways to change.
2. How often is your interrupting behavior related to over-excitement or agitation?
Consider slow, deep breathing to calm and center yourself. A regular meditation or mindfulness practice can make this easier.
3. How frequently does your interrupting relate to a fear of forgetting what you had planned to say?
Consider jotting down your thoughts while in a meeting. Consider the possibility of letting yourself forget when in low-key situations with friends and family members!
4. What do you think the effect may be on others when you interrupt?
Consider giving a spouse or close friend permission to use an agreed-upon signal when you interrupt. Then don’t get annoyed when they use it!
5. How well do you listen?
Consider learning more about listening skills. Active listening is particularly useful to learn because it helps with focusing on the person who is speaking.
Want to learn more?
Psychologist Rory Tuckman offers several tips on how to reduce interrupting:
Others with AD/HD chat about interrupting in this forum:
Tips on kids and interrupting at school:
Want some help changing this or other habits? Consider working with a coach! Contact me at www.lizahmann.com
(NOTE: These questions and suggestions are excerpted from a summary I previously wrote for the AD/HD Coaches Organization, based on a discussion among member coaches.)