Anger and emotional situations are not a good combination.
When your emotions are high, your ability to think straight, your ability to follow a plan of action is in danger.
Recently I was in a personal situation where emotions were high. A difficult person in my life was sitting at the table, and she was unable to keep her emotions in check. She lashed out in anger at me. It was hurtful, uncalled for and surprised me. It also instantly made me angry.
I wanted to deal with the situation right then and there. I wanted to be calm, I wanted to be able to say the right thing, and I wanted to hurt her back.
I also knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do all those things and feel good about it.
I said nothing in response. I knew enough to keep quiet. I knew that even if I did figure out the perfect thing to say, that Elizabeth wouldn’t have heard it, it wouldn’t have changed anything, and I might have completely regretted saying what I said.
When emotions are high, take 24 hours to respond. Take the high road, which is incidentally not very busy. In those 24 hours it gives you both a chance to cool down, to follow your strategy and to make sure that when you do respond you can feel good about what you do say. If there are going to be regrets about what was said, it won’t be you.
Just because your difficult person isn’t playing by the rules doesn’t mean we need to stoop to that level too.
You know what they say about fighting pigs? Don’t do it – you both get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.