Please, don’t interrupt—but if you must, be nice!

Irma Kalnina

Here's what happened just the other evening. During a business dinner, I sat with two friends I've known for a long time—a husband and his wife. We were in the middle of a discussion when another friend came up to our table. Granted, she has a long and close relationship with the couple, and I'm just a casual friend. She interrupted the conversation, nary an acknowledgement or hello to me, captured the attention of my friends and that was that. Conversation stalled. All the while, she stood (no room at the table), making the wife turn her back to me, and the husband turned to the person next to him. Is the picture clear?

People often have one-track minds with an immediate, self-serving agenda – I’m going to talk. They often don’t even realise that they've interrupted, or that they should have included the person just knocked out of the conversation. In this case, the best thing for all of us would have been to get up from the table and talk as a group. There is no way three people sitting and one standing could have been a conversation! In this situation, moreover, the couple could have also shown a bit of courtesy...

Rule of thumb: avoid interrupting people at heights greater than 20 metres from the ground.

Tips for when you do want to interrupt

In truth, I have never experienced or heard of this kind of situation. Lucky me!

We begin 2016 with fresh inspiration and a challenging new goal: to write Latvia’s first blog about etiquette! My goal is to write this blog in an informal way, with humour and examples from real life situations. I wish to share my experiences, observations, and opinions not only in these blog articles but also in my Facebook postings. Most of all, I want to help those who want to help themselves in getting the most out of their daily relationships with friends, family, colleagues, and clients.
Learn more at Irma Kalnina Consulting!

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