Bring it to Barb


Dear Barb,

I hate it when I am talking to someone and they interrupt what I am saying or finish my sentences for me. I have a tendency to speak slowly and some of my friends who speak quickly will not let me finish talking and it is very annoying. How do I let them know that this is bothersome? Do people realize that they do this to everyone?


Annoyed Slow-talker

Dear Annoyed Slow-talker,

This can be simply an innocent habit that has become invisible to your friends but not to you.  

It’s an enormous amount of work for your friends to keep track not only of their own thoughts, but also of the people they are interrupting. This tendency is extremely common in busy people and makes someone hurry their thoughts and speeds up the conversation, which can be exhausting. 

One thing almost everyone resents? Someone who doesn’t listen to what they are saying! How can you listen to what someone is saying if you finish their sentences or continue interrupting them?

The great news is that all your friends really need to do is to begin catching themselves and reminding themselves (before a conversation begins, if possible) to be patient and wait. 

Everyone will feel more relaxed and noticeably better during the conversations if this innocent habit is recognized. Your heart rate and pulse rates will slow down and you’ll begin to enjoy your conversations with your friends rather than feel rushed through them. 

It is a difficult conversation to approach with good friends who unintentionally rush your words or thoughts. A calmly spoken phrase such as, “Let me finish my thoughts,” or, “Just wait for me to finish,” will be enough to set the tone and hint to your friends to allow you time to finish your sentence. Habits, unfortunately, take intentional thought and this can be a hard habit for your friends to break, so be patient with your friends and keep reminding them that your need to finish your sentences. 

Barb Rock is a retired mental health counselor and the published author of “Run Your Own Race: Happiness after 50.” Send any questions related to mental health, relationships or life issues to her at or text to (253) 377-9668.

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