I’m not sure when it started, but for me it was the early 1990s. I was living and working on the east coast and remember the day I saw it invade my everyday world; even telling my husband that night. Today it’s a ubiquitous style.
Back then, common etiquette meant pausing before speaking to insure the other person was finished. On that day I watched a hostile verbal-take-over as the person wanting the floor simply talked over the other person until he yielded. They weren’t debating a heated topic; he merely wanted to change the focus.
Like many cultural changes, verbal-take-overs arrived in dribs and drabs until we adjusted to them. In a few years, the no-pause speaking overlay style frequented everything from meetings and basic conversations to news channels and talk shows. I even perfected my own style which became a necessity in some workplaces. Time was short and verbal-take-overs signaled “move along,” albeit with rudeness.
Another no-pause style took root around the same time. I noticed it first on my regular commute as drivers made a no-pause choice more and more frequently at stop signs, crosswalks, and red lights. Now I see another no-pause emerging. This week at a museum exhibit, a young woman wanted to see what I was looking at but couldn’t wait the 20 seconds for me to finish reading the sign, so she (continue reading →)