When you get a text message or email that makes you a little pissed off, it’s all too easy easy just reply as quickly as possible without really thinking about it. Chances are, you’ll say something stupid. Instead, The Wall Street Journal suggests giving yourself some cool-off time.
Photo by Joi Ito
We’ve all been in those moments where we’ve hit send a little early and kicked off a nasty email or text to someone because it was the easiest response. That’s really not good for your relationship. Here’s the Journal’s advice:
If you have ever sent an email you regretted, set rules to follow the next time you get a message that sets you off. Decide how much time you will wait before responding — 10 minutes? 24 hours? It depends on how long it takes you to cool down.
If you feel silence is making the situation worse, send a quick message stating that you are surprised and don’t want to say anything you will regret, so you are taking a breather. Suggest, “Can we talk?”
Before crafting your response, picture the other person. Maybe even look at a photo. Remember the last time you laughed together. Consider his or her point of view. “A good negotiator always wants to make sure there is something on the table for both people,” Dr. Rutledge says. “You can’t know what it is the other person needs without thinking about it.”
It might seem a little silly now, but it can prevent you from saying something you’ll regret in the future.
You Can Recover From a Snippy Email, But Prepare to Grovel [The Wall Street Journal]