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How to politely interrupt a conversation

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Isn’t it annoying when somebody interrupts you while you are speaking to someone, especially if you are discussing something rather important or are in the middle of a conversation or an argument. But sometimes interruption becomes mandatory and people have to do it; also there will be instances where you will need to interrupt a person, and you definitely don’t want to be annoying. So how do you interrupt a conversation politely? How do you do it in a manner that is acceptable and does not irritate the other person.


Social etiquette: How to politely interrupt a conversation


The one rule you need to remember when interrupting a conversation is that to keep it short and precise. A long speech on your part can make the person lose their train of thought. So let’s see how we can learn a very important social etiquette – how to politely interrupt a conversation. Remember, the keyword here is ‘politely’. Anything done with a good display of manners will earn you brownie points, and if you politely interrupt a conversation, chances are the speaker will not be offended, and might even take it as a pleasant distraction.



Here are some tips on how to interrupt a conversation


Here are some tips on how to interrupt a conversation


There will be different times and circumstances where you will need to interrupt a conversation. Here are some ideas on how you can do it.

With friends:

Now this is the most informal setting and it totally depends on the nature of conversation and your equation with your friend. When interrupting your friend, you can use term like ‘Hey, what I want to say is…’ or ‘I am sorry, I need to cut your conversation because I need to tell you…’ Or if there is a group of people, and you need to speak to  your friend, then it is better to first make eye contact, and once you have your friend’s attention, you can smile and say what you must.



In a formal setting:

If you are in a meeting, or need to interrupt a conversation with a colleague, it helps to be careful and quick about it. It is more respectful to not to cut somebody in mid-sentence, but wait for a break in their speech, or when they stop to think. You should always start with apologising for interrupting the conversation by saying, ‘I am very sorry to interrupt, but I would like to say…’ or if you are saying something in the same train of thought, you can say ‘Sorry for interrupting, but I would like to add something to what XYZ was saying.’



Interrupting a person is not a good move, but sometimes it is unavoidable. How you handle the situation is important. Using the right words and being as polite as possible helps.

-By Shailja Varma


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