Office Hours at Home
December 26, 2015 9:20 AM   Subscribe

My partner often comes up to me and starts talking no matter what I'm doing - reading a book, writing, working on a drawing. He doesn't wait until I make eye contact or acknowledge him - he just starts talking. This means that when I'm concentrating on something I'm frequently interrupted. Is there a way for me to remain physically present and available for occasional conversation while signalling that I am busy and don't wish to be constantly interrupted?

We both have a "closed office door, do not interrupt" policy for when we need to concentrate, but I don't want to spend all of my time in my office. I like to read in the living room, and I don't think it's great for a relationship to spend so much time shut off in another room. We both value the passive company that mere proximity provides.

I spend a lot of my free time reading, writing or drawing, so I feel like demanding complete silence would be unreasonable. And lonely for both of us! I don't want him to feel like he's never allowed to talk to me spontaneously. I just don't want him to be interrupting me with random thoughts or comments on what our friends posted to Facebook while I'm trying to read Proust.
posted by sleepy psychonaut to Human Relations (30 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
To be honest, the only thing you can do is give your partner some notice that you're doing something you want to concentrate on and don't want to be interrupted for 30 minutes, or whatever time you decide on. I don't think there's really any other solution to that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:24 AM on December 26, 2015 [5 favorites]

Headphones? You don't have to actually be listening to anything for them to serve as a signal that you're in concentration mode and won't hear casual interruptions.
posted by carmicha at 9:28 AM on December 26, 2015 [12 favorites]

My wife and I have worked this out in this way: if the other person is visibly focused on something, but we want to interact, we say 'when you have a minute?' And then give them whatever time they need to reach a good pause point before chatting. Usually that ends up between 10 seconds and 3 minutes, long enough to finish a paragraph, a row of stitches, etc. It works for us, anyway.
posted by BlackPebble at 9:33 AM on December 26, 2015 [35 favorites]

We do a quick, "Can I talk to you?" which might sound weird but we both do work that requires various levels of concentration, so it works for us.
posted by Zephyrial at 9:36 AM on December 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've yet to figure this out after 19 years of marriage. It depends on your partner, if they are receptive, making ground rules might help. if they aren't receptive and like mine get their feelings hurt that easily, well. If it's an actual conversation I'll pay attention, but if it's just him telling me "something interesting" it's terrible but if I'm really concentrating I just have to tune him out and reply with an interested sounding 'mmmmm.'
posted by Requiax at 9:43 AM on December 26, 2015 [6 favorites]

My fiance and I often work at home at the same time so we developed a system when something occurs to one of us and the other is deep into a problem. We just hold up one finger and put it in the other person's field of vision. Then the other person nods, and will check in when they're ready (usually a few seconds to a few minutes). Surprisingly effective, and everyone feels acknowledged.
posted by deeparch at 9:47 AM on December 26, 2015 [9 favorites]

My SO and I refer to the "front end". The conceit is that this is a small chunk of our consciousness that handles casual conversation like that. We will even go so far as to reply to each other with "Frontend. Frontend, front end?" in a cheery voice to make the point that Hey I Am Into Something Here, Give Me A Moment.

It is important to make it clear that this is in no way a dismissal of each other's concerns and thoughts. It's just that we're busy with larger, more complicated thoughts at the moment and need some time to put them down.

If you can come up with some kind of similarly cutesy way to say this, that can be incredibly useful.
posted by egypturnash at 9:49 AM on December 26, 2015 [8 favorites]

Have you talked to your partner about why they can't respect the fact that you're engaged in something when they interrupt you? I mean, yea it is great that you want to be available to them so they can talk to you, but it smacks of a lack of respect for your time, and like you have to do all the work to be present for them when apparently they won't do the same.

It's just a pet peeve of mine - why some people think that they have a right to blather on no matter what anyone else is doing.
posted by cabingirl at 10:08 AM on December 26, 2015 [29 favorites]

As the person who frequently does the interrupting and also sometimes gets interrupted, the thing that should occur is setting some ground rules for when it's OK to interrupt ("only when I'm doing X or Y task or A or B thing is onscreen" would be fine) and how quickly you expect a response. (Obviously emergencies would be an exception.)

The thing that gets really tiresome and upsetting is when you're the interrupting partner, but the concentrating partner has no apparent stopping points in what they're doing, even when they're doing it for hours, and gets upset when you just want to tell them something or ask them something brief. It makes maintaining communication really hard.

The other thing I would note is that if you're doing something where you can't brook interruption sometimes or can't predict when you'll be available to talk, working in the shared living space while doing that task might not be for you. Being in a nearby space with the door open might be a good medium.

Inasmuch as people who can work flexibly should take advantage of that, it's also useful to have some boundaries on whatever you're doing, work or play. Just as you shouldn't always be working when spending time with your partner, as they can find it stifling, they shouldn't always be engaging in play when you're trying to work, as that can make you feel like you have so much to do but can't be around your partner when doing it. You'll both have to compromise. Good luck!
posted by limeonaire at 10:33 AM on December 26, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh man, do I understand this problem. My husband is very chatty and loves to sing random lines from pop songs, talk to the cats in silly voices, and update me constantly on whether or not it's raining when I'm sitting right by the window just like he is. This sometimes drives me mad as I love to read, and haven't really solved the issue entirely. But one thing that works a bit is for him to have his "noisy time." If I've been trying to concentrate and he's been interrupting, we'll institute noisy time. That means he gets ten minutes every half hour to be loud and random and sing and chat, and for the rest of the time I get to concentrate. It helps. However, the system doesn't work perfectly as he often forgets, so I'm looking for some new ideas, too.
posted by hazyjane at 10:34 AM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

We had/have this issue. When we discussed it, it came up that there are 2 kinds of interruptions - there's "Can you believe what so-and-so said on Facebook?" and there's "I'm running out to pick up lunch now. What do you want?" The former can wait, the latter can't. For the conversations that can wait, we talked about how if one of us is reading or typing or clearly focusing on something else, the other is going to try to remember to take the time to notice before interrupting.

It's easy to forget, though, because on some level, everyone is always engrossed in their own inner world first. In those cases, if I'm reading and she starts talking, I'll just hold up a finger and say "one minute, hon" - in a friendly, non-snippy way, finish my paragraph, and look up when I'm ready. That's always met with an "oh! sorry!" and works as a gentle reminder to try to remember again going forward.
posted by ginatrapani at 10:41 AM on December 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Another thing that works for me and my SO: Instant messenger. Especially if we're both sitting at our computers doing stuff. We've long since established that IM is not a thing that requires IMMEDIATE RESPONSE!!!1!!1!!!!1 so things like "hey check out this cute tiger cub photo I found" or "I had the worst idea for a road trip" can be said that way, and responded to when the other person has arrived at a stopping point. Often verbally, and with a verbal conversation as the result versus a textual one.

This won't work if the thing you're Focused On is completely away from any internet-connected devices, or if all of your online communication is set up to make a big hullabaloo over new messages coming in. But it works for us.
posted by egypturnash at 10:44 AM on December 26, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'll just hold up a finger and say "one minute, hon" - in a friendly, non-snippy way, finish my paragraph, and look up when I'm ready.

This is how we deal with it too. Me and my SO have differing tolerances for this sort of thing, he's an interrupter, I get agitated when I am interrupted. A lot of times he'll start talking to me as I'm leaving the room because the act of me leaving triggers an "Oh I needed to ask her the thing" response. And yeah we also differentiate between "I am just talking out loud and you're the person who is in the room" talking and "I need a thing from you for a reason" If it's the latter, my part of the deal is to let him know I'm busy in a nice way "Gimme a sec love and you'll have my full attention" If it's the former, I'll be more likely to say "Hey can we catch up about this over lunch?" (i.e. later). And sometimes I just need "cone of silence" time even in a public space and this is clearly demarcated and also the exception not the rule. If this is the case I'll just let him know and I'll do my thing (with a clear end time) and then he'll just either leave or do something quietly on his own.

I get the feeling that you don't want to hole up in your room, but only you know your own tolerances for interruption versus your partner's ability to be able to compromise somewhat. We've worked this out with reasonable satisfaction on both our ends, I think the main part is making sure the other person understands what the outlines of the situation are so they can find ways to interact that are appropriate and that you hold up your end of the bargain to be interruptable. I have had people I've been with in the past where I'd be like "Let me know when you're at a stopping point in the next little but" and then 30 minutes would pass and that sort of thing was where I was just like "OK this is not us hanging out together" It's worth thinking a little about whether you're doing quiet activities "together" or whether you just need alone time in which case it's better to actually go be alone.
posted by jessamyn at 11:56 AM on December 26, 2015 [6 favorites]

I have considered wearing a Don't Interrupt Me hat, but so far have just gone with the preemptive notice.
posted by deludingmyself at 12:11 PM on December 26, 2015

I think the trouble here is that you've got a physical and mental space where interruption is sometimes okay and sometimes not, so when you're in that space he doesn't always know when it's safe to start a conversation without frazzling you. Possibly you don't, either - our levels of energy and concentration vary from minute to minute and we can't always effectively signal when we're up for conversation. It's sort of a dance.

Do you have an agreed-upon way to show that you're more (or less) available for interruptions; a way for him to get your attention without bothering you; a level of conversation that is okay for him to begin at any time; a time limit for how long you can go without interruption? You don't have to have elaborate rules or anything, but you do have to both have a general idea of when it's okay to have conversation. It could be something as simple as "when I'm sitting in the chair, I'm concentrating, but when I'm on the couch you can talk to me whenever."

You don't mention exactly how long you spend in this pseudo-do-not-disturb mode, but you do say that it's "a lot"; if you're spending all your time at home concentrating on a book or a project, your partner might feel a little walled off. Passive togetherness is lovely, but passive togetherness when one of the people would rather be a little more actively together and the other would really rather be alone can get tense. Also, it kind of sucks when you want to be in a common space but someone else is effectively using it as a quiet zone. Maybe it would help if you had some regular designated times where it's completely okay for your partner to start a conversation at any point. Maybe spend an hour a day doing something that involves a little less concentration? Or maybe move half of your super-intense-concentratey time to a separate room and relax your interruptability for the other half.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:13 PM on December 26, 2015 [8 favorites]

I don’t think anyone can answer this for you, it’s purely a personal thing to work out.

My wife and I interrupt each other without a thought while reading, watching TV, etc. TV is paused every few minutes while we are watching. Talking to each other is treated as more important than any of those things, even if it’s about something trivial. If one of us is reading/watching something engrossing we may say "hold on a second" but that is not common. If we are actually working on something that requires attention then we will be much more careful about it, but that is almost always in one of the offices. Shared space is shared space.
posted by bongo_x at 12:36 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

These little seemingly inconsequential behaviors are SUCH a huge deal, but people don't actually talk about or even notice them until they become big conflicts. They're partly just habit, and partly personality, but almost everyone just assumes that their way is normal and everyone else is just doing things wrong.

It sounds like he's a naturally chatty person*, probably grew up in a home where people walked around narrating things, and has a high tolerance for distraction, so his model for normal looks like that.

I'm personally a lot closer to your model, though. I suspect I'm pretty extreme, because I have had this issue with nearly everyone I've lived in close proximity with, including the chatty person I gave birth to. I am easily distracted and don't care for background noise or chatter in general, but especially when I'm concentrating on something. It can take me forever to recapture my groove after someone interrupts me, and if I do try to keep up social interaction while I'm trying to do something else, I completely fuck up whatever I was doing.

So this is the important thing: They are not trying to annoy you or piss you off. They're just kind of like that, and probably don't realize other people aren't. I think the chatty types are less aware of those differences and their attitudes are more normalized just because they tell everyone what they're thinking. If you're not a chatty kind of person, you're probably only going to bring it up when you're at the end of your rope, which makes you look like a crank, which can cause people to react dismissively.

So try your best to bring it up in a neutral setting, when you're not actively annoyed, in a non-judgmental way. If he's one of those people who gets defensive easily, maybe take a little of that on yourself at first, as though it's all about you being easily distracted or something, rather than about him being distracting.

Once you've discussed it thoroughly, and you know he knows about it, don't expect him to be able to immediately change his habits. This is probably what he's seen as normal all his life, and it's a major shift in a behavior he likely didn't even realize he had. So you'll have to remind him a lot, and of course, you'll probably still have to compromise some. Like, you can't just blank him out for hours on end or make your position the default. You're going to have to meet somewhere in the middle on this, and you really just need to address that explicitly and come up with your own guidelines together.

I need a good-sized block of relative quiet in the mornings, or I'm just discombobulated and on edge all day, so I'm pretty explicit about that one, but for the rest of the day, it's more a thing where I'll just say, "Busy right now," or "in a minute" when someone interrupts me. I do have to be a little rude every now and again, and let someone know they're irritating me, but I understand it's tough to change those behaviors and that they mean no harm.

Some of my chatty comrades really like to rewatch boring assed things they've seen a bunch of times before, which is another thing I don't understand, but every now and again, I'll sit down with them during those rewatches because the chatter is actually a welcome distraction from the fact that we've seen this stupid show a million times already. I don't know your preferences about that stuff, though, so I don't know if it'd work for you.

* I'm assuming that your examples are representative, he's not interrupting you with anything important like household maintenance things and time-sensitive things. If he's telling you to let the dog out or asking what you want for dinner and stuff, that's another thing entirely.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:52 PM on December 26, 2015 [5 favorites]

Is the problem less the distractions and more the way they're sprung on you without giving you a chance to task-switch?

My husband and I have talked about it because I have this problem, and I got him to understand that I need a second or two to task-switch before I'm able to comprehend and interact with him. I've driven home that he needs to say my name, or a petname, or otherwise positively get my attention before saying things.

When I'm in a heavily visual-oriented task, it can take me a second or two to switch back on spoken-language-processing. If that's the case for you, sometimes making an exaggerated display of looking up owlishly/inquisitively without comprehension (even partial) and asking for a repeat (like, "I'm sorry, say that again?") may help drive home the task-switch overhead.

We jokingly refer to it as my 'ping' i.e. the amount of time it takes for me to return something like "Hi" depends on how concentrating I am. It'll usually work through the queue and sometimes will take up to a couple minutes for me to say hi back. Or, if he gets my attention it'll be fairly instantaneous.
posted by bookdragoness at 1:39 PM on December 26, 2015 [6 favorites]

We struggled with this too. As the interrupter, I can anecdata that what helped for us was having a no-screens dinner. It was really important for me to feel like I had a bit of time to just chat with him about his day, be with him and have his attention. I got needy when I felt like he was front-loading the night with stuff that was all about him---three hours later, he's had a workout, caught up on the news, listened to his podcast etc. And then he was too tired to do much with me. Taking even just a few minutes and spending them on me first made a big mental difference. I still don't think he quite understands my devotion to the 'family dinner' but for the most part, he goes along with it. It's not that I object to the podcasts, gym routines or (in your case) books and hobbies. But if I feel like they are more important than me, it can trigger the insecurity monster. You have to balance your desire to do these activities with your obligation to other people in your life.
posted by JoannaC at 2:01 PM on December 26, 2015 [4 favorites]

I have more or less been "the you" in a number of relationships and eventually realized that it kind of sucks to be around someone occupying the central living space who is frequently in "do not interrupt" mode doing something which, if one is truly being honest, doesn't really have a well-defined stopping point other than "when I feel like I've worked on it enough." This sort of thing can be okay a few times a year while working on an extraordinary project, but if it's a day in/day out thing it can get really shitty to be in the same room with someone who is effectively constantly telling you to fuck off just for trying to interact with them. On the other hand, as someone who does do work and other things at home that require sustained attention, I can appreciate not wanting to be interrupted. Thus, my advice:

1. Do some radical reevaluation of those things for which it is a serious and meaningful disruption to be interrupted versus those things for which you realistically simply prefer not to be interrupted. Critical reading and writing, for example, might be the former whereas casual reading and drawing might be the latter.

2. Suck it up about things in the latter camp and decide to be cool about it.

3. You say you have a "'closed office door, do not interrupt' policy for when we need to concentrate, but I don't want to spend all of my time in my office"? Tough. When you really can't be interrupted, suck it up, go into your office and close the door. The person who isn't willing to be spoken to doesn't get to impose a "no talk zone" on the common space, especially when there is a private space especially reserved for this purpose.

4. In what should be the rare occasion that you truly must be in the common space and you truly can't be interrupted, be cool about it, reply to whatever is being said and then say something like, "I really need to finish reading this article/writing these notes/composing this email/whatever. Let's talk after I've finished. Would you like me to finish up in my office?"

It took me quite some time to figure out I was being a real jerk about this kind of thing, so take this as advice from someone who made an effort to reform and found it profitable.
posted by slkinsey at 2:05 PM on December 26, 2015 [31 favorites]

"Oh, did you say something? I was concentrating on..."

Do it enough times, and that's that.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:41 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have considered wearing a Don't Interrupt Me hat, but so far have just gone with the preemptive notice.

I have done this; it works relatively well.

My parents' apartment is too small for my mom to have an office with a door that closes; her office is half of the living room. She works at home, which means she's monopolizing common space with uninterruptability for most of the day, but since my dad does not work at home that is usually fine. However, sometimes he likes to come home from work for lunch, in which case he is supposed to wear "the invisible hat" to indicate that he is invisible, i.e. not expecting to be acknowledged.

I didn't like that approach since it puts the onus of invisibility on the person who is NOT being an antisocial jerk, so the last time I lived with someone and didn't have my own office space (or, later, had my own office space but didn't want to have to symbolically "go to work" every time I felt like not being publicly available), I would be the one to wear the "invisible hat" when I didn't want to be unexpectedly disturbed. We instituted it in tandem with IM interruptions -- if I'm "invisible" I would much rather get a "when you have a minute" IM than be talked to out loud. The relationship didn't work out, but it wasn't because of the hat. The hat was pretty good.
posted by babelfish at 2:41 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

We both have a "closed office door, do not interrupt" policy for when we need to concentrate, but I don't want to spend all of my time in my office.

I totally feel you, but we've recently initiated a policy which is basically that if you don't want to be a member of the community, you need to pick up your computer and go to your office. It's not fair to sit there resenting someone who is trying to talk to you, and it's not fair to have to sit there talking to someone who is clearly paying attention to something else.

So our house rule is, if you don't want to engage, it's up to you to get out of the room, not make people walk on eggshells.

I understand both sides--spent plenty of time on both--and I'm still: you gotta go hang out elsewhere. It's not fair to look at someone on the couch and wonder 'am I allowed to talk to him/her?'
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:34 PM on December 26, 2015 [30 favorites]

I'm frequently the interrupter and husband is the sort of person who really can't multi-task (so if I'll frequently walk by him when he's doing fairly trivial daily tasks like checking his personal email, say something, get no response, and then a good 30 seconds later he'll pop his head up and say, "Did you say something?"). Our house is too small for even one office let alone individual offices.

I don't have a solution, though I've really made note of several given here, but I did want to just pop in and say that I don't do this on purpose to upset him. I'm naturally a multitasker and I forget that he's not. It's so second-nature to me to just say something to anyone I'm in the same room with. The thing is, any more, with screens added to books, there seems like no time ever that one of us is not staring intently at something. It gets difficult to communicate if there's a constant "ON AIR" sign illuminated with no established point when it's going to turn off so you can talk. So I agree with folks that there needs to either be a location you go when you truly can't be disturbed, or a pre-arranged "This is what I need, this is for approximately how long, and then when I am done I will let you know" routine established.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:04 PM on December 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

He needs to learn to wait for a signal or response before talking. I feel like that's the main bit here -- not that he wants to talk, but the presumption.

Talking to you is one thing; assuming you have a section of your attention focused on him at all times ready to pick up whatever he says is another. It's a very subtle and aggravating kind of entitlement, especially when they refuse to comprehend that you may be so focused that they are not actually part of your peripheral awareness, ie. you've 'forgotten' to keep constant track of them at all times.

I've dealt with this a lot. I can't comprehend words unless I am looking at someone's face, so anyone that doesn't get my attention and lets me look up before they start talking gets whatever they said consigned to the ether, and a lot of the time people who do this get incredibly angry when they have to repeat themselves or are told they have to wait for me to switch to them, because the presumption involved isn't actually speaking to me -- the words themselves don't really matter much, usually -- it's having my attention on call at all times.

Feeling as though he expects you to be on call to talk is one of those problems where the solutions sort themselves into these options where he'll just have to:
Option #1: learn to get your attention first and then talk
Option #2: get used to repeating himself and manage his expectations around not being comprehended immediately or responded to in a timeframe he likes with minimal emotional labour from you
Option #3: make sure what he says is almost always going to be important/relevant enough to make it worth your while to perform the laggy task-switch on demand
Option #4: accept that he is talking for the sake of talking, responses inherently optional

People generally prefer to take option #1 since it's the path of least overall aggravation, and that's something you can work out together. Option #2 tends to cause small internal nuclear explosions for the other person and a lot of exasperation for you but it does work over time once they get used to the idea that they might as well just take one of the other options. Option #3 is something I've managed to make work when there's something else going on, like actively working or doing something that you've established requires a lot of focus -- the "don't bother me unless the house is burning down" option. Alternatively it's also the "don't use me as an emotional dumping ground" option. Option #4 is something I've worked out with people who really just want to Say Things with no particular response or acknowledgement expected; words fall out of their mouths because that's what they do and they don't expect a response -- nice if it happens, not actually necessary to them.

The easiest thing is for him to learn to ask for your attention and wait for you to give it, with the corollary that if it's not worth having to wait even a couple seconds for your attention, maybe it's not worth saying right then at all.
posted by E. Whitehall at 6:06 PM on December 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Is your partner getting much uninterrupted/full-attention time with you otherwise? I know when I turn into the interrupting type, it's often because I haven't seen my husband all day and I miss him.

If that is the case, you can set aside a part of your day/evening to be "eat together and talk, no distractions" or even just hang out on couch and drink wine and talk, or go for a walk together, whatever works.

If not, then yes, develop a raised-finger signal to say "five minutes" or whatever. If you need long, solid blocks of No Talking to You, then you should stay in your office or find another spot that's not a shared space for the both of you. He can't read your mind and has no way of knowing when it's ok and when it's not ok to interrupt you.
posted by emjaybee at 9:19 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

You need a colourful and slightly theatrical 'thinking hat'. When wearing the hat you would like to not be interrupted. When not wearing the hat you are open to conversation.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:15 AM on December 27, 2015

This is my perspective from someone whose personality is similar to your partner's--I enjoy unstructured hangout times with my loved ones, and I like socializing during that time through sharing things I find online or thoughts I have. You're spot on in saying that if you explicitly voice the vague request for "less spontaneous interruption" then he will be left with no way to judge how much is too much and will probably err on the side of miserable silence. Instead, you can solve this by being specific and using verbal communication.

What your partner can do: before he shares something with you, say "hey sleepy psychonaut", so he's signaling that he wants to initiate a conversation.

What you can do: when you hear "hey sleepy psychonaut" and you don't want a distraction, say "ooh, I'm reading Proust, give me 15 minutes". Then, 15 minutes later, "OK, done with this chapter. What was it you wanted to tell me?"
posted by capricorn at 2:34 PM on December 27, 2015

I notice the best answers marked favor the perspective of the interrupted. I want to clarify the side of the interrupter. My partner frequently tries to have uninterrupted time while I am sitting literally at the same table as him. He'll start doing work over breakfast without telling me and then get annoyed when I ask him what we should do today because I'm interrupting his work. Or he'll put on headphones to watch cat videos, and then be annoyed when I make a comment about what so-and-so posted on Facebook. And... for me it's just... I'm siting right there. And I feel ignored when he's in check-out mode. And of course it's fair that he needs time to do work or space out with cat videos at home, but it really sucks being shut out like that. It hurts my feelings and I have to weigh if what I'm going to say is important enough. And I don't think I should have to do that with my partner.

So. Basically I think your expectations are - while in some ways valid - also somewhat unfair to your partner and you should take that seriously.
posted by annie o at 9:40 PM on December 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

I notice the best answers marked favor the perspective of the interrupted.

I noticed this as well. And it's not as though I don't get it. As I posted above, I am an interrupted type rather than an interrupter type. But I agree that "your partner needs to change his ways" is not particularly helpful advice. A mutual understanding should be sought so that a mutual change can be made. At some point the interrupted has to understand and acknowledge that it sucks to be in the same room with someone who is constantly deciding they can't be spoken to -- especially when it's in their home. The interrupted may find it annoying, but the interrupter will almost certainly start to resent it after a while.
posted by slkinsey at 9:38 AM on December 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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