Just Push the Pause Button

Have you ever found yourself in an argument with a friend, family member, or co-worker that you wish you could just pause or replay? In the heat of the moment, did you find yourself making accusations or sly innuendos towards the other person? Did you get REALLY angry and start launching all kinds of disparaging comments?  And when it was over, what impact did it have on your relationship with him or her and, secondarily, with others?

If you have ever been in a conversation that has escalated into a full-fledged argument, you know that there is little to gain and lots to lose from it. To avoid such detrimental encounters, learn how to push the pause button before you react. It will save you gobs of regrets and heartaches in the long run.

Whenever you are in a conversation that begins to intensify, practice pausing.

  • Pause before assuming;
  • Pause before judging;
  • Pause before demanding;
  • Pause before accusing;
  • Pause before saying something that you will later regret.

Before giving someone “a piece of your mind”, follow this simple “mindful” technique:

  1. Once on pause, acknowledge the flood of rude and disparaging thoughts as they first pop into your head.
  2. Use your “pause time” to edit your first thoughts and to come up with a less invasive and more tactical response.
  3. Respond in a way that will diffuse any escalation and promote a more civil and productive conversation.
  4. If you are unable or unwilling to control your emotions or responses, walk away. You can always come back to a conversation after cooling down and regrouping.

Ultimately, the ability to push the pause button to avoid an argument will serve you well. Both at work and at home, be sure to keep that “pause button” within arms-reach. You never know when it might come in handy.

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Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living

Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A.  in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University  and on the Board for LEARN Idaho.  Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging.  As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.