“Think long and hard before you utter a word. Let your conscience regulate what you say and how you say it, because you understand that the listener’s wellbeing must be taken into consideration.
Communication experts have gone to great lengths to teach us how to criticize, complement, and confront; all with the aim of ensuring that the relationship remains intact, and hopefully grows stronger, at the end of the interaction.
We don’t always have control over what we say though. In extreme cases, we have been guilty of saying things that we don’t mean, or undiplomatically revealing what we really think of someone or of a situation. Some of these extremes to watch out for are:-
· Anger. This is the most common source of unfiltered words. Feeling slighted gives us tunnel vision, narrows our focus to ourselves and our feelings at the expense of others. When the urge to lash out wins, fractures may be formed in relationships, and it may become impossible to fix.
· Drunkenness. The filter comes off like a bullet when one is unable to handle their alcohol. Bridges burn, relationships break, and regret ensues in the aftermath of these outbursts.
· Lust. ‘Don’t trust anything said by one who wants in your pants.’ When in lust, you’ll promise, and be promised anything and everything. Only when the promise can be made outside the heat of the moment can you bank on it.
· Despair. When at the end of the rope, people have not only said, but also done things that could be regretted later. The warning against making permanent decisions to solve temporary problems is for a time such as this. When darkness envelops you, and you are desperate for a flicker of light, be wary of your own words and actions.
We all find ourselves in these and many other situations that lead to communication faux pas. We must be on guard, lest we regret our words and actions later.