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Old 06.08.2012, 19:08
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Do you interrupt people?

Went to a few meetings with my Swiss husband this week to the bank, city hall, etc... and after two of the meetings we left and he told me I was so rude for interrupting the men we went to talk with.

Hubs couldn't give me an example of where or how I was interrupting, but said that I did it several times and that he was always taught in school that it is incredibly rude to not wait until the other person is done talking.

I'm frustrated because I was trying to keep up with the conversations in German and I don't know exactly how I was interrupting... it didn't feel like I was being very rude, but now I am a bit self conscious that I'm walking around flapping my mouth like a jack*** in German. In each case we were meeting with people who were trying to explain or sell us something and I had questions about how things worked, or sometimes needed something clarified in German. To me, it felt like a fairly normal conversation complete with exchanges of information instead of one person talking at someone after a question had been "orally submitted".

Every example that I thought might be construed as interrupting, I asked hubs about he told me that they were fine, but I was interrupting somewhere else... (when??) and he told me I often do it in English as well... but not to him or his parents. (Thank God!?)

I do come from a large family where you have to raise your voice if you want to be heard, and I do admit that sometimes I feel like if I don't interrupt people in social situations I will stand there the whole time in silence while no one lets me get a word in edge-wise. (Which is also rude, but in another way.) This is part of the reason why I've learned to try and cut into conversations, otherwise I would just listen. To me, it's fairly normal that people say things and interject, the topic changes, etc. I'm not going to wait for you two people to stop talking 10 minutes later so I can mention how I also started an herb garden this summer and then talk about my plants. (Or whatever the topic is.) After a certain point, nobody cares! What's wrong with just saying "Oh, I'm growing tomatoes too!"?

Often times if I am standing quietly listening to a Swiss-speaking person they talk for awhile before asking if I understand Swiss-German or German. I get the impression that they think I'm daft because I'm standing there staring at them... and if they really wanted to be courteous about language they would ask me which I prefer before they start their spiel.

What about you guys? Are you rude interrupting foreigners as well?

Any tips on how I can realize what I'm doing and cut it down? Aside from standing there quietly with a smile on my face... pretending I understand everything... (because I have years of experience doing that here as well! )
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Old 06.08.2012, 19:13
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

I empathize with you. I too have been accused of being rude for interrupting ( unknowingly ).

Often find it after a meeting where Swiss German is often spoken and I can manage only about 50% in High German which is rarely spoken in the Sitzung. To express myself better, I often speak in Denglish. I guess it is just one of those things that slowly but surely one fine day I will learn.
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Old 06.08.2012, 19:21
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

yes, but usually my time is more important that theirs, so it's ok.
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Old 06.08.2012, 19:35
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

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yes, but usually my time is more important that theirs, so it's ok.
I told that to hubby after the first time. "We are paying for their time!" They better shut up and listen when I have a question. I'm nice, I promise...
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Old 06.08.2012, 19:41
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

Well, I've found that it's not very easy to interrupt someone if they're speaking German, because you never know what they're saying until they include the verbs at the end.

But when I do accidentally interrupt someone, I try to apologize and then let them continue.
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Old 06.08.2012, 19:44
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

Funny you mention this - I had a very heated discussion with the OH about this a while back, where he was complaining that I interrupted him (which I might have been guilty of, to be honest) and I was complaining that he went on and on and on with what I perceived to be a neverending monologue. Same exact problem I've had with other people here in the German-speaking part of CH.

I think it's a question of what you're used to: he tried to explain to me that, for example, he's used to finishing a story completely without interruptions, then only afterwards soliciting and listening to others' opinions (after he's been talking for a good 5-10 minutes non stop), while this drives me nuts, as I am used to talking 1-2 minutes, seeking a response/opinion/comment from my counterpart, expecting questions, asking clarifying questions, then continuing the story, and so forth, in a more interactive process.

This might be the crux of the issue, being used to different communication/interaction styles, and the fact that one might find his/her style totally normal and the other's abnormal. Once you figure this point out, then I think you can work towards finding a compromise. So I don't think you were necessarily wrong - perhaps just, like me, used to interacting in a different way.
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Old 06.08.2012, 19:47
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

Erm it is common to be rude here, don't worry about it. You will find the more polite you are here, the more annoyed you get with other people who simply are not aware of the meaning of the word.
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Old 06.08.2012, 20:19
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

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Funny you mention this - I had a very heated discussion with the OH about this a while back, where he was complaining that I interrupted him (which I might have been guilty of, to be honest) and I was complaining that he went on and on and on with what I perceived to be a neverending monologue. Same exact problem I've had with other people here in the German-speaking part of CH.

I think it's a question of what you're used to: he tried to explain to me that, for example, he's used to finishing a story completely without interruptions, then only afterwards soliciting and listening to others' opinions (after he's been talking for a good 5-10 minutes non stop), while this drives me nuts, as I am used to talking 1-2 minutes, seeking a response/opinion/comment from my counterpart, expecting questions, asking clarifying questions, then continuing the story, and so forth, in a more interactive process.

This might be the crux of the issue, being used to different communication/interaction styles, and the fact that one might find his/her style totally normal and the other's abnormal. Once you figure this point out, then I think you can work towards finding a compromise. So I don't think you were necessarily wrong - perhaps just, like me, used to interacting in a different way.
maybe you should get one of those chess clocks and time him and you're allowed to interrupt him until you've spoken for the same amount of time that he has
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Old 06.08.2012, 20:48
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

one tip: when you interrupt them, summarize what they just said. it gives them the sense that you listened.
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Old 06.08.2012, 20:59
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

I don't want to sound harsh....but its somehow strange that your best-half is not able to give you a proper example of your interruptions. Probably you should go easy on this one and keep working on your language skills? Its really hard to converse especially German...and off course interruptions is part of learning curve
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:10
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

Only if really necessary (I hate meetings, find them mostly a waste of time).

But, when I do, people listen, as they know I only do it if REALLY necessary (as I hate wasting my time).

Tom
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:12
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

I learnt about this in a cultural training at work - apparently German speakers don't interrupt each other like English speakers do. It's kind of annoying, but to be polite here you have to try to wait for people to finish talking!
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:15
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

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Went to a few meetings with my Swiss husband this week to the bank, city hall, etc... and after two of the meetings we left and he told me I was so rude for interrupting the men we went to talk with.

Hubs couldn't give me an example of where or how I was interrupting, but said that I did it several times and that he was always taught in school that it is incredibly rude to not wait until the other person is done talking.

I'm frustrated because I was trying to keep up with the conversations in German and I don't know exactly how I was interrupting... it didn't feel like I was being very rude, but now I am a bit self conscious that I'm walking around flapping my mouth like a jack*** in German. In each case we were meeting with people who were trying to explain or sell us something and I had questions about how things worked, or sometimes needed something clarified in German. To me, it felt like a fairly normal conversation complete with exchanges of information instead of one person talking at someone after a question had been "orally submitted".

Every example that I thought might be construed as interrupting, I asked hubs about he told me that they were fine, but I was interrupting somewhere else... (when??) and he told me I often do it in English as well... but not to him or his parents. (Thank God!?)

I do come from a large family where you have to raise your voice if you want to be heard, and I do admit that sometimes I feel like if I don't interrupt people in social situations I will stand there the whole time in silence while no one lets me get a word in edge-wise. (Which is also rude, but in another way.) This is part of the reason why I've learned to try and cut into conversations, otherwise I would just listen. To me, it's fairly normal that people say things and interject, the topic changes, etc. I'm not going to wait for you two people to stop talking 10 minutes later so I can mention how I also started an herb garden this summer and then talk about my plants. (Or whatever the topic is.) After a certain point, nobody cares! What's wrong with just saying "Oh, I'm growing tomatoes too!"?

Often times if I am standing quietly listening to a Swiss-speaking person they talk for awhile before asking if I understand Swiss-German or German. I get the impression that they think I'm daft because I'm standing there staring at them... and if they really wanted to be courteous about language they would ask me which I prefer before they start their spiel.

What about you guys? Are you rude interrupting foreigners as well?

Any tips on how I can realize what I'm doing and cut it down? Aside from standing there quietly with a smile on my face... pretending I understand everything... (because I have years of experience doing that here as well! )
Don't you know to shut up when men are talking. <- for the ubber feminists out there..this is a sarcastic smiley
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:23
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

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Went to a few meetings with my Swiss husband this week to the bank, city hall, etc... and after two of the meetings we left and he told me I was so rude for interrupting the men we went to talk with.

Hubs couldn't give me an example of where or how I was interrupting, but said that I did it several times and that he was always taught in school that it is incredibly rude to not wait until the other person is done talking.

I'm frustrated because I was trying to keep up with the conversations in German and I don't know exactly how I was interrupting... )
hi: )) I believe there's certain individual pecularities. Moreover, cultural differences. Even within same country: )) or company: ))
I've realised that very well after changing my carreer in 4 different multynational companies, including Korean: )))

So if I were you, I would be concerned on my husband's reaction rather then the guys you've been talking to.
If he feels uncomfortable or shy, or frustrated, or stressed, or whatever...that's the point to discuss with him. After all, these bank guys are paid for to keep up with different customers, and I am sure you were far not the worst in their experience: ))

Last edited by Sumerkirima; 06.08.2012 at 21:51.
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:35
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

I do interupt people in general conversation but when chatting to Swiss friends(be it in English or Bullshit) I try not to as they do find it rude.
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:37
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

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I learnt about this in a cultural training at work - apparently German speakers don't interrupt each other like English speakers do. It's kind of annoying, but to be polite here you have to try to wait for people to finish talking!
I've noticed as well that when they (German speakers) talk, they go on and on and you can't get a word in edgewise. If you try to comment on or reply to something they've said, they just keep talking. BUT I've noticed when I talk, they will interrupt me, and then keep right on talking over me. It ends up not being an exchange, but more like a soliloquy.
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:44
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

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Don't you know to shut up when men are talking. <- for the ubber feminists out there..this is a sarcastic smiley
You've got it right in one lost_inbroad. I think it's more that men tend to ignore women here when talking to couples. I know that happens in other cultures too, but I notice it a lot here whenever I'm out with my OH and we start talking with someone. Conversations, even in English, go on as if I wasn't there. It annoys the heck out of me, especially if I've initiated a comment/question. They should talk/direct their answer to me, not him. Even if I haven't initiated the conversation, they should include both of us. It's rude not to in my book.
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:52
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

I used to think that providing immediate feedback made the communication more interactive - until someone told me how impolite he felt I was. I have changed my ways and try to suppress my urge to interrupt. Which can be difficult if the other one is off on a monologue.

Unfortunately, I feel that there are more and more people who do not notice when they are boring everyone else with a 5-10 minute monologue - to me, this is the other side of the politeness medal. While one does not want to be interrupted, one should also be attentive enough to notice when boring the rest of the world and wrap up the story. Also, many people who hold these monologues then are the first to interrupt the others.
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Old 06.08.2012, 21:59
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

In my experience in Switzerland I have noticed that interrupting seems to be less of s big deal for the Swiss than the English. But I would say that your husband should be prepared to be more accomodating while you are still learning German and proud that you are actively traying to use it in the conversation.m
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Old 06.08.2012, 22:02
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Re: Do you interrupt people?

I sometimes unintentionally interrupt people in conference calls. Especially while talking to people in different continents there is a little delay (VOIP phones seem to have it a bit more), which makes it harder for me to understand if someone gives a little break while talking or stops.
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