Shape Up or Ship Out

Write a letter to the personality trait you like least, convincing it to shape up or ship out. Be as threatening, theatrical, or thoroughly charming as is necessary to get the job done


Dear Interrupter,

Have you ever watched The View?  Their trademark is interrupting.  They interrupt each other, their guests, and sometimes themselves. It’s the most annoying thing ever.  I watched once for about 15 minutes.  That was enough for me.

I know I’ve written about this topic before, somewhere.  I admit to being guilty of it, although I really try not to butt in. We all do it. Even though we hate being interrupted ourselves, we do it.  It’s the American way.

Listen to a political debate.  Well, no, don’t.  It will raise your blood pressure and make your ears bleed.


We assume we know what the other person is going to say. We get hung up on something that he already said, and we butt in to contradict or ask for clarification.  We’re so busy thinking about what we want to say next that we aren’t listening, and we let our mouths engage before the brain.

People who have ADD are the world’s worst interrupters.  They don’t mean to be rude, and I can cut them a break. It’s still annoying not to ever be allowed to complete a sentence, but I know their motive is not to be obnoxious.

I also know that there are times when you really thought the other person was finished, and you start to respond, and she starts up again and talks over you. This happens to me in my work, especially when someone is so distressed that she really can’t listen yet.  I’ve learned to just be quiet during the first couple of sessions with this type of person. She really isn’t ever finished.  She just stops to gather her thoughts for a minute, and then she goes forward at full speed.

That kind of situation isn’t annoying to me.  The person is overwhelmed, and needs a safe place to vent.

It’s the know-it-all, everyone – else-needs-to-shut-up-and-listen bloviater who annoys me. This person always has a very loud voice and is able to shout over a room full of people who are conversing with one another.  He cannot tolerate anyone not listening to his words of knowledge and wisdom. No other conversations are allowed.  He must be the center. And he makes it his right to interrupt anyone else who may be talking, because what he has to say is unquestionably more important.

Dear Interrupter, I wish you would go away. You make my tired ache.


A shame-faced Buttinski



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