Times Standard (Eureka)
Reader’s know-it-all friend is irritating
Dear Harriette: I have a friend who is a know-itall. As we are talking and catching up, she regularly interrupts me to explain that she knows whatever the subject is already and gives an example. Rarely do I get a whole sentence out before she jumps in to put her personal stamp all over it. This is irritating, to say the least. I know she is smart and busy in her life. She has had tons of experiences. I don’t understand why she feels she needs to negate mine or not even give me space to talk. How can I get her to make room for me? — My Turn
Dear My Turn: You are going to have to speak up and jump right back into the conversation. When your friend interrupts you with a story, stop her. Literally. Interrupt her back and say that you were trying to tell her something or make a point. Ask her to wait to tell her story until after you have shared your own. If she pushes back and says some version of “I just have this one little thing to say that’s related to what you just mentioned,” stop her and say, “That’s fine. Let me tell you my story, and you can share yours after.” If she still won’t shut up, confront her. Tell her you are tired of being talked over by her. You have had enough. You see that she thrives on a oneway conversation. You do not. Ask her to listen better. If, over time, she won’t try to be more inclusive of you in your conversations, stop talking to her.
Dear Harriette: I went to a funeral for the mother of one of my friends. It was a beautiful service and very different for me. Their family attends an Episcopalian church. There was lots of pageantry, including waving of incense and many different hymns I had never heard. And then there was Communion. I did not grow up in the church, and I felt uncomfortable participating in that. Nobody said anything when I didn’t take it, but I felt awkward. Was it OK that I sat it out? — Unfamiliar Rituals
Dear Unfamiliar Rituals: It is great that you attended the funeral that honored your friend’s mother. I can imagine it was a bit awkward to enter a church and observe unfamiliar rituals. Many religions have specific and illustrious rituals that are performed as a celebration of a person’s life when they die. Being able to observe those things and have respect for behaviors that are different from yours is excellent.*
It is perfectly fine for you to remain an observer and not participate in anything that doesn’t feel right. In some churches, Holy Communion is offered only to baptized members of that faith, even if others are present. Not participating in that ritual is perfectly normal and respectful of you. In many churches that offer Communion, you can approach the priest, cross your arms over your body to signal that you will not be taking the sacrament and receive a blessing instead.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@ harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.