- Posted By:Siria
It’s come to my attention numerous times over the course of my life that apparently it can prove to be pretty difficult for people to interrupt me when I am in a conversation in a social setting.
I do tend to end up in what I can only imagine must appear to be very involved conversations all of the time. I also tend to use my hands a lot when I speak, so I’m sure that adds to the intensity that the general observer who is not a party in the conversation supposedly witnesses.
This was all recently pointed out to me via an e-mail that an ex-coworker sent to me the day after an event (after party for an awards ceremony for a local publication that I attended with Lady Di) that he’d spotted me at, however in his words he “didn’t want to interrupt you [me] to say hello, as you [I] appeared to be in a serious conversation with the Director of New Media every time I [he] saw you [me].”
That is not the first time I’ve gotten that type of note/message from someone. It’s happened many many times in the form of an email, a Facebook wall post (or back in the days of Myspace, via a comment), and/or sometimes a phone call, voicemail, or text message. Next time someone sends me a message of that nature, I will direct them to this post.
In all fairness, I was in said conversation, however let me clarify that about half of the time these lengthy conversations ensue due to the fact that the person I am speaking with is probably either an old friend or someone who I haven’t seen in a long time, or both. That was the case with this “Director of New Media,” whom Lady Di and I had met outside of a professional setting and our conversation wasn’t so much involving the hottest new social media platforms as it probably was discussing apartments and moving and other misc. things.
The other half of the time the conversation is probably with someone new that I’ve just met and am just getting to know, and as I do I do enjoy hearing about other people’s back stories sometimes it’s hard to stop someone in the middle of their life story, so I don’t. Also, I am genuinely interested in what they are saying most of the time. The only times I really walk away from conversations abruptly are if it goes from a normal conversation to one where they are blatantly hitting on me. Another instance would be if I really feel that I should be circulating more (especially if I’m hosting the event), usually my exit strategy will be a less abrupt one as I’ll usually find someone else in the room who may share some common interests with the person I’d been in conversation with and pair them up to continue the conversation or embark on a new one.
However, please be assured that the conversation is probably not along the lines of discussing “sequencing of the human genome” nor any other area within molecular biology for that matter. This is Los Angeles after all, and while I have encountered the stray “rocket scientist” in this town I can’t say it’s a common thing. Thank goodness, as Science has never been my forte. So, it’s safe to say that interrupting most of my conversations at any given time will not really prove detrimental to the human race. If you’re successful in interrupting the conversation or at least having me notice you in my near vicinity, I will probably introduce you to whomever I am speaking with and more than likely incorporate you into the conversation. I am not partial to one-on-one conversations as many of these long involved back and forths tend to be with a group at times.
Regardless, whether the conversation be with one or multiple people, as with everything else I am definitely for the more tactful interruptions. Recently, I had one of my good girl friends try to drag me away from a conversation I was in because she was more than a little intoxicated and decided she needed my attention then and there. The person I was in a conversation with was someone I hadn’t seen in a long time and I was hesitant to walk away from it as I wasn’t sure that our group of friends would stick around long enough to allow me get to catch up that person later. However, after her second attempt to pull me away it got a little embarrassing, and the person thankfully was of good humor and chuckling stated, “Wow, she really doesn’t want you to talk to me.” I just apologized and at that point decided to cut the convo short. This was definitely not one of the better ways to interrupt one of my conversations. Interrupting a conversation in that manner should really be reserved for an emergency situation.
To see if I could figure out the best way to have a conversation interrupted or to capture the attention of the party in a conversation, I asked some of my friends what their methods of getting my attention were.
My two favorite answers were:
The one, who couldn’t really give me an answer, instead provided this “Interrupting Siria Contreras, the self-help book. Hmmm…this is going to take some brainstorming [and possibly case studies]”
The second one was more on target and basically was a variation of what almost everyone else said, “I just charge right in. Of course I say, excuse me first, but I think for the most part you always look like you are deep in conversation. That’s your look and I know unless I say, excuse me, I’ll be waiting a long time.”
Geez, looking like I’m in deep conversation at all times is not necessarily one I want to sport at all times. I think I laugh too much for it to be completely accurate, but vanity aside that approach is pretty on point. Saying excuse me and then interrupting is perfect. If you can’t bring yourself to do that you could also stand near me and I’ll probably notice you sooner rather than later (thank goodness for peripheral vision), that or you could bump into me as well I guess (people have been known to do this to me every now and then).
I could start to tell you the ways that I interrupt people in conversation, but this post would go on entirely too long if I did that. The main thing to remember whether you’re interrupting me or someone else is to just take a minute to think about how you yourself would like to be interrupted.