The art of listening

Have you ever felt while interacting with someone, they aren’t really listening to you? Instead, it seems they catch some of your words, grasp the idea, and then say whatever comment crosses their minds.

This isn’t new, but it has started to infuriate me. I thought I was too dull to chat with, but the truth is, no! I’m like any other person, I don’t speak like Nemo’s whale, and considering that’s what I do for a living, I assume I’m good at it.

I’m unsure if humans are losing the ability to listen or if I’m paying more attention to interruptions. Anyway, it has reached a point in me that I had to blog about it.

Finding the reasons

I refuse to complain and criticize chronic-interruptors without looking for what’s behind this behaviour. And after spending many hours reflecting on it while walking our dogs, here’re the grounds I came up with:

1. ADHD folks. Nothing wrong with them; it’s not their fault; all good with them!

2. Stress. Sometimes life is tough and puts us in a different state of mind.

3. People with the urge to say: “I have been there too” or “Yeah, I know.” Is this a need to show empathy or a bit of FOMO?… Not sure.

4. Persons with a lecturer complex. They can turn the conversation into a lecture about what you initially shared.

Mansplaining could be a practice these guys developed.

5. People who damaged their span of attention due to social media. It’s true; we’ve developed the habit of scrolling hundreds of times per minute. It’s like living under this threat:

“If you don’t get my attention in the first two seconds, I’m going to scroll, and the moment you stop entertaining me, I’ll scroll.”

What real experts say about interruptions

(Sometimes, I wish I had studied psychology. Damn!)

A psychologist named Hanan Parvez reports three kinds of interruptions based on their purpose.

First, we have these guys who interrupt to “gain power” (could be those in my number four). Then we have those who do it to build rapport; they are engaged with what we’re saying and want to ask or bring more info about it. Finally, the “neutrals”; here, we can include stressed or distracted people.

I couldn’t find anything related to our number five friends. Still, I learned that social media has shortened our attention span in the last few decades. In a parenting blog, I read that it has reduced from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. I can’t imagine how we are in 2023!

Finally, I came across this Psychology Today article that explains all the damages interrupting can cause and the benefits of working on the ability to (basically) shut up. Amazing!


I’m reconciling with those who interrupt without noticing. Still, I need to learn how to stop interruptions and recover the course of conversations when break-offs aren’t worthwhile. Pfff!!

I’ll come back to write more about this topic as soon as I notice an improvement or interesting experience. In the meantime, thank you for reading.

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