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DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend has a weird habit of interrupting other people when they are talking. I’ve seen him do it to my friends a few times now, and I know it upsets them. It upsets me, too. He told me he does not do it on purpose. How do I get him to stop? Also, could this be a sign of a personality disorder? — Interrupting BF
DEAR INTERRUPTING BF: It sounds like your boyfriend is not a good listener. Sadly, this is a common trait among many people, both male and female. People often like to hear themselves talk and use any opportunity to jump in and tell a story when they are in a conversation with others. Is it annoying? Of course it is! It clearly indicates that the person doesn’t really care what is currently being said.
What you can do is tell your boyfriend that his interrupting is rude and disconcerting, and you need him to start noticing it and stopping the behavior. Offer to help him see himself. You can create a signal that you send whenever he starts to interrupt others. It can be twitching your nose, pulling your ear or some other action that may get his attention. If he agrees, this may begin to help him be quiet before he completely takes over the conversation.
You can also jump in and interrupt him to say, “Just a minute. Let so-and-so finish what they had to say.” It could take that blunt call-out to get him to notice and keep the conversation flowing naturally rather than being hijacked by him.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom told me she is relieved that my ex-girlfriend and I broke up, because she never liked her anyway. What she doesn’t know is that we’ve actually started seeing each other again and are on the verge of reconcilia- tion. How should I break this news to my mother? I almost don’t want to tell her that I’ve started seeing my ex again. — Dating Secretly
DEAR DATING SECRETLY: Find out what your mom doesn’t like about your girlfriend. Listen carefully so that you have a sense of what bothers her. Even as you are getting back together, your moth- er’s wisdom may help you to make smarter choices and understand this woman better.
Don’t let too much time pass. In these early days, figure out if you and your girlfriend are serious about giving it another chance. Talk to her about why you broke up and what you think can be different now. Decide on a way forward that is conscious and intentional, not just convenient. If you think that the relationship is worth salvaging, inform your mother. Tell her that you are reconciling and that you are mindful of the past while being fully present in the here and now. Ask her to give the two of you a second chance with her blessing. By including your mother, you create space for solidarity rather than suspicion.
Harriette Cole is a lifestyl- ist and founder of DREAM- LEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and acti- vate their dreams. You can send questions to askharri- email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.