Thursday, February 14, 2019

Queued Responses

When I was younger, if I believed I'd been wronged, I would fire off an angry letter or email.

Gradually, I reduced the anger. I was firm, but less hotly emotional.

A couple years ago, I started something new. I would indulge my impulse to dash off missives, but would hold onto them (in a folder titled "Queued Responses"). And, first, I'd send a short friendly query to verify my understanding of the situation.

I suspected that this might prevent a few unjustified accusations, confrontations, and escalations. But, to my utter shock, I almost never need to send the queued communication. It's almost never called for.

When I browse that folder, it looks like madness. Metric tons of stress-causing uproar - like trapped carbon - unreleased into the atmosphere. Adding this simple step to my workflow was probably the most philanthropic thing I've ever done. Want to really save the planet? Keep your heavy-flow shower head, but do this.

This is a very different thing from choking down rightful anger. I'm not talking about going out of one's way to avoid confrontation, or allowing people to get away scot-free with injurious behavior. It's that polite error-checks very often show me I had the wrong impression. That, plus the extra time buffer, almost always illuminate the truth: confrontation is not only disagreeable, but most often misguided and unnecessary.

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