Where's The Fire?
Have you ever read an email that really pushed your buttons ? Whether it is related to work or it is personal we all experienced opening up an email that gets our heart pumping. You are so angry, you just can't believe what you are reading. You hit the reply button and start typing away in your defensive, hostile and offended mood. Since you feel under attack, you attack back. Your adrenalin is pumping and it is hard to keep up typing with what you are thinking.
It feels good as you type and you are going to set that person straight. When you hit the send button you feel vindicated. After a few minutes pass and you settle down and then you have second thoughts. So you reread what you sent and you nod your head in agreement, everything you said is right. You walk away and go get some water. You have this nervous energy inside of you that you can't quite settle down. You start to think about it and you realize that you just escalated the situation. You start to doubt the email you sent whether it was a good idea or a really bad one. So you go read it again, and you say to yourself, "True, but I wish I had not sent it."
I know that feeling well. In fact I know it so well that I never allow myself to send emails that I write right away. What I do is allow my emotional reactive self to go ahead and vent and write that email. Then I do not send it and wait an hour and go back and write a new email. It is amazing the difference in tone, language and manner the two emails express. I always send the second one and achieve a resolution and an open line of communication.
These events are not just in emails, do you ever see the words actually leaving your mouth and you wish you could grab them and stuff them back. It is amazing when you take a second to think about something only later realizing the full ramifications of what you said. You know what I am talking about, that thing you said when you were out on a night out about to have a great time with the person in your life that ruins the evening. It happens at work, at home, with friends, on a train, in a car or in a box. These things we say that we wish we did not happen every where.
If what we are saying is the truth and how we feel shouldn't we speak the truth and express how we feel? Truth has many angles itself, there is the emotional truth and the logical truth and the myriads . truth has from different perspectives. How we communicate is not just about expressing our truth or our perspective of the truth and especially our emotional truth. Communication has to have an objective. What your objective in your communication is far more important than your truth, especially your reactive truth. Your truth can change in moments as the emotion passes.
Imagine if we just communicated how we feel in any given moment? Telling your partner, "You look fat in that." Telling your boss, "I really don't like you." Telling a customer, "No we could sell that for less, but we want to get as much as we can from you." All these statements might be true, but they are not achieving your goal in the situation. Your goal should be to communicate in a way to achieve a desired outcome, which is hopefully a positive one
In a world where we are trying to speed up communications via email, instant chat, text message, cell phones and more, we need to learn to slow down. Often what is on the "top of our mind' is not what is best to share or maybe not what we really feel past after the moment passes. Our instant reactions don't always produce the best results. What is the hurry? Why do we need to get our point of view across so fast? Where is the fire we are trying to put out?
The urgency that you are feeling is only in your head. There is no real reason that you need to react right away, and you can slow down. Slow down and ask yourself, "Is what I am about to say going to produce a positive outcome, or a resolution, or a benefit in any way?" If you slowed down and thought more about what you are saying before you say it, you will find you have the ability to really communicate on a new level. Remember, there is a time and place for everything and since there is no fire burning you can choose better timing, better words and leave things in a better place.
Chantilly at Mon, Jul 12 11:45 PM:
I can truly say that I have been mostly lucky as to not be chewed out at least online. but that is becuase I don't have that many personal friends who even use the computer that much.
let me see: here it goes: I several times chewed out online a place online called FreeADvice.com. those idiots got a real eyefull from me. good they had it coming.
And then this crazy girl from a site called Fanbox, I think that is it-----got mad at me over an error I mistakenly made over at ArtistData, of which I very much so declined from those two sites.
Other than that I have been very lucky though.
I will post here though, be careful what you write to one another online. it goes through a lot of systems and can be highly damaging. Lawsuits can prevail amongst friends, coworkers, etc.
So before you post that hate email, stop, listen and take a breather. Wait it out at least a few days. if you still feel the same, write certain things and in candor, but no swearing or threats, otherwise when the cops call you won;t be able to say anything, other yes, as they read you your rights.
Likewise it would go about the same for snailmail, tread lightly....any which way.
agbarath at Mon, Jul 12 06:41 PM:
Wow that really applies to a situation that I am concerned about right now, what great advice, better thencounting to 10
JennysMom at Mon, Jul 12 07:23 PM:
I so needed this today. Thank you for reminding me I needed to come back to Tools to Life.
Green_Raven at Tue, Jan 04 06:51 PM:
I have done that before, I remember so clearly answering emails in that way, especially with a boss I was communicating with, I didn't want to do something and told her I couldn't do it (perhaps not in as tactful or constructive way as I could), I fired the email off quickly, she fired one back, I fired another back. Both getting angry and nasty. In the end, it cost me my job.
I really wish I'd taken that hour to think about it. I will in future!