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There's a person whom I think is genuinely my friend. He's showed a consistent willingness to help me out and talk to me in a friendly manner, and even sometimes calls me to start a conversation. However he's pretty busy and has a heavily pregnant girlfriend. This, I assume, is the reason why he keeps getting interrupted in the middle of our phone conversations. He'll suddenly say "I need to answer this call" (on another phone) and hang up... and only sometimes call back. One time it was even "I just need to get my haircut now".

The thing is, knowing him, I wouldn't be surprised if what he was saying were true. But he's talking to me on the phone in the knowledge that, in 15 second or something, he's going to have to suddenly hang up and do something or talk to someone else. I don't really know whether to be offended or how to bring this up with him. I don't want him to think I'm demanding that he pay loads of attention to me or anything, but it is rather annoying to be in the middle of a phone call with someone only for it to be abruptly aborted, maybe to continue later or maybe not (depending on whether he remembers to call back). And then when he's hung up, it's kind of wasting my time because I'm interrupted from what I was doing and I'm making sure I'll be available for the callback that may or may not come.

How can I approach this situation and try and make communication less annoying?

  • Hi Ross. Do you see a similar pattern when your conversation is through written chat? I mean, the chat is interrupted and no longer continues. Or your friend has some delay when chatting, but the chat keeps slowly going? – Santiago Jun 24 at 18:53
  • Hmm, good question. I'd say it does tend to happen with written chat too although the nature of texting is far more stop-and-start anyway. I'd expect it more there. – Ross Jun 24 at 18:59
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    Hi Ross. Can you explain what it is that you want your friend to change? Is it that you'd rather your friend not talk in the first place if he is busy, spend more time on the "farewell" of a conversation, or do you want him to put talking to you as a higher priority in his life? – Reubens4Dinner Jun 24 at 19:12
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    @Reubens4Dinner The first, pretty much. – Ross Jun 24 at 19:14
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One method I've used if I notice the repeated pattern of them interrupting a conversation is to ask them first off what they're up to. If they mention they're waiting in line, going someplace, etc. you can just know and accept that the conversation will be short. If you want a more lengthy, deeper conversation you can try letting them know that you would like a stretch of time that they know they are not likely to be interrupted.

How to express that you like knowing if you're going to have to have a short conversation:

Friend: Hey, what's up, how you doing?

You: Hey, there. I'm doing good. What are you doing now?

Friend: [insert activity]

You: Ah, alright cool. So I'm guessing you might have to go soon? How much time do you have?

Friend: [approximate time]

You: Alright, cool. So what do you want to talk about? Conversation continues ...

During any of these conversations, you can express to them that you would love to have uninterrupted conversations with something like this:

Hey friend, I've been thinking- what days and times are better for us to talk when you have something like 15-30 minutes of time to yourself, where you're not doing anything and you think you won't be interrupted?

I would love to just chat with you longer and not have to keep stopping because I like chatting with you.

I would like for us to figure out a better time for both of us to talk.

Reassuring them that you do like talking with them is a good idea, and refocusing on time management rather than the issue of him interrupting the calls often.

I've experienced this with my friends in person and through written chat (messenger, texting). I've used this method and the response was positive, and we were able to continue chatting at a better time for both of us and our friendship got stronger because of that simple request.

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