One of my friends (yeah, I have friends now; shocking, isn't it?), with whom I play tabletop role-playing games, has a pet peeve: He hates being interrupted. I don't blame him. It most likely makes him feel like people aren't listening to him or don't care what he's saying. Totally understandable, am I right?
The problem: I absolutely, positively suck at conversations. I can never figure out when to say something, and I can never figure out when what I'm going to say is relevant to the conversation.
No, let me correct that: I can't figure out when to say something or whether it's relevant fast enough to participate in the conversation. If you gave me twenty, thirty seconds before each bit of conversation to think it over, I could do it. As it is, when I'm having a conversation, I tend to just blurt out whatever I'm thinking of, whether it's on topic or off-topic, whether or not anybody else is talking, whether or not it's important enough to mention. It's like I have two choices: Either just say whatever I'm thinking, or else stay quiet and think about whether it should be said and wait too long to ever say it.
I tend to just say whatever I'm thinking--probably because I don't constantly self-evaluate and second-guess myself. If I did, like I said, I'd probably not say much at all.
So, here's me, with my big mouth and tendency to say whatever, whenever, without paying attention to the conversational flow (because if I did, I'd miss the content and wait too long to say anything relevant). And here's my friend, who really and justifiably hates being interrupted. This is a problem. I feel really bad when I know he's annoyed because I'm interrupting him, and I can only hope that he knows that I really don't set out to do it.
There's got to be some kind of trick to this. I can't just sit there and not say anything; that'd be a step back both for my learning more about socializing and for my own emotional health (because, let's face it, constantly checking to see if you did something wrong makes you feel pretty bad about yourself). On the other hand, I can't keep going as I have been, just blurting out random things and occasionally embarrassing myself, annoying others, or just derailing the conversation uselessly.
Anybody have any ideas? Solved this problem yourself, partly or fully? I've already let everybody know that if I'm being annoying, I want to be told; so at least I'm aware of at least some of the problem. What I don't know is how to address it... Thanks in advance.