The next 24 Hours could save your relationships.

I wrote a scathing text back to a good friend of mine and was ready to push send.  You see, we were meeting for lunch and I had moved two meetings and a coaching client to meet with him.  Five minutes before our lunch meeting, I got a text that said, “Hey dude, sorry I won’t be able to meet with you today, apologies.  Another time?”

I was silently livid, How could he so nonchalantly blow me off like that–not to mention all the blood, sweat, and tears I had put into meeting him (ok a little overly dramatic).  How dare he!!!

I am sure you have experienced something similar.  I was “so” ready to push “send” and lay a claim on some level of revenge to my rude friend.  Then that little voice said, “Don’t send it! Slow down! Remember the 24 Hour Rule. Slow down!”

I listened to that little voice and didn’t send it. I am so glad I didn’t.  Why?  Because it would have caused damage to our friendship and created drama that neither of us needed. 

Text is never a good venue for communicating when emotion is involved.  

Sure, there is a time, place, and emotional centered state for a loving and direct conversation for situations like this. This text was none of these.

The 24 Hour Rule is a simple and effective method for saving relationships, particularly when you are tempted to act out of high emotion:

When emotion is high, don’t let words fly. Stop!
Give it 24 Hours before you act.

When we act on impulse we are acting from the limbic system in the brain–the part responsible for “fight, flight, or freeze.”  The goal is to slow down, breath, and allow the rational part of the brain to fire up.

Here is the rest of the story. When I settled down, I called him and we were able to talk through what had happened in a calm, rational way. That is the emotionally healthy way to handle these situations.

Invitation:

The next time you are “irked” by someone, instead of shooting off an emotionally charged text, give yourself 24 hours and then call them to talk through things in a calm, rational way. You will preserve your relationship and improve your verbal communication skills.

Keep looking up and looking forward,

Doug Nielsen

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