Don’t String Me Along

maybe notJust say “no!”

Call it a pet peeve, but it drives me crazy when people respond to my request with a “maybe” when clearly, they want to say “no.” Don’t get my hopes up with a “maybe.”

Saying maybe only delays the discomfort temporarily. Eventually, they will still have to say “no.” The delay of the inevitable, the avoidance, the bs answer only makes it more difficult.

Everyone asking for help, extending an invite or making a request is well aware they may be turned down. And though none of us like that rejection, it does go with the territory.  We don’t get everything we ask for.

The inability to decline a request only complicates things. Being turned down is acceptable. Maybe not our preference, but certainly acceptable and manageable.

Being told “Maybe…maybe I’ll make it. Maybe I can do that for you. Maybe I’ll be there” when it’s obvious that won’t happen is frustrating. It keeps us hopeful. It keeps us waiting and thinking our invite might actually be accepted.

Eventually we have to step up and take personal responsibility.  We need to communicate directly and use common courtesy. The other person is waiting on our response, planning around our possible “yes.” Often in their minds, it’s as if we already said “yes.”

When we are asked to attend a meeting or help with a project or offer support that we either cannot or do not want to do, we have to say so. Preferably right then and there. On the spot.

If you know the moment you’re asked for help that you aren’t available (or interested), say it. Say “no” in whatever form suits the situation. Whether it’s a family member, a neighbor, a close friend or a colleague, your response can be the same.

The way to say it should sound something like:

  • “No thank you, I’m not going to be able to help with that.”
  • “No, I’m sorry. It’s not possible this time.”
  • “No, I wish I could help but I’m already committed.”
  • “No, thanks for asking but I’m overwhelmed with commitments at the moment.”
  • “No. I appreciate the offer but that’s just not my thing.”
  • “No, I’m not going to be able to help you out.”
  • “Sorry to disappoint you, but I can’t make it.”
  • “Thanks for thinking of me but I won’t be able to join you.”
  • “You know, I appreciate the invite, but I’ve done that and it’s just not for me.”

Guidelines for turning down a request look like this:

1.     Don’t hesitate.
2.     Keep it short.
3.     Don’t explain.vote maybe
4.     Leave no doubt.
5.     Be courteous.

Essentially, keep it simple. Tell the truth and be sure you were understood.

Don’t say “maybe” when you mean “no.” You’ll save time. Avoid prolonged discomfort. Eliminate their wondering and no longer be chased for your answer. No one likes to be strung along. No one wants to wait and wonder. Without answers, it’s difficult to plan.

Next time someone in your life makes a request, asks a favor, or shares an invite, give your honest answer. Say it clearly, courteously and with grace, but say it.

Why Difficult Conversations Require a Balance of Honesty AND Kindness

got balance

The strongest relationships weather storms. They deal with conflict, disagreement. They aren’t always pretty, but they are always real.

Healthy conversations are the same. Truly healthy conversations are based on honesty AND kindness, not one or the other.  Like a chair with a missing leg, conversations that don’t value both characteristics are bound to collapse at some point. Healthy conversations cannot exist without the weaving of both honesty and kindness into them.

With only kindness, our conversations  avoid issues.  Anything that might cause pain, discomfort, hurt feelings, anger or conflict will be skipped in an effort to be kind above all else.

The moment kindness trumps truth, we pay a price. Every bit of information that appears “not nice” gets sugar-coated, or toned down, or simply censored altogether.  Such watered-down communications are inauthentic, too worried about sensitivities. Like the famous line in the movie, Top Gun, we “can’t handle the truth!” Waving the flag of kindness, we gloss over  anything that might cause the smallest blip.

But everyone pays a price when the hard truth is avoided. Communication floats over the surface. It avoids. Conversations based only on kindness are weak, filtered, and rarely very truthful, entirely avoiding what matters most.

The reverse is also true. Honest conversations that lack kindness are just as unbalanced and ineffective, but to the other extreme.

Conversations that value ONLY honesty have the potential to be brutal, hurtful and insensitive to feelings.  In my head I still hear my dad bellowing, “Well, I have to be honest!” as license to voice his opinions thoughtlessly as if honesty made it ok. It didn’t. It always hurt.

honesty kindness

Honesty and kindness need to be married into conversation to create healthy communications.

Together, the pair is powerful.  By speaking the truth we express what matters, what’s real. We get to issues. We have the opportunity to work through the awkwardness, the difficulty and come to understanding.

It isn’t always pretty or comfy but delivering communications with kindness AND honesty means we will not sidestep an issue. We will not ignore the truth simply because it might be upsetting.

What we will do, however, is opt to speak truthfully AND graciously with awareness.  Awareness of how it might sound and feel.  We’ll speak our words truthfully AND with thought.

By being honest, we face challenges and gain understanding.

By being kind, we deliver our communications thoughtfully and with awareness.

Combining the two qualities in the office and at home that takes practice and commitment. It takes courage to always speak the truth, knowing it might be difficult to hear.  Knowing it will feel great when we’re through the conversation encourages us to speak up. It’s a great motivator.

Do you struggle more with the “being honest” part of healthy conversations? Or is your challenge being sensitive and aware of others’ feelings?  Not sure? Just ask someone close to you. I promise, they’ll know and if you ask, they’ll tell you. Let me know you’re out there, tell me what you think. Agree or disagree?

 

Who Are You Listening to….Them or You?

Be honest. What’s your motivation for listening?

Though we hate to admit it, most of us are listening with the focus on what we’ll say next.  Often we reply before the speaker is even done talking, so sure are we that we know what they are about to say.

listen to respond

Could this be you?

That’s not really listening. That’s making it all about “us.”

Have you ever responded to someone so quickly that they had not finished speaking yet? I recently busted myself. I replied too, too fast, feeling pretty sure I knew what my husband was about to say. Not only did I have to own up to interrupting, but my response had nothing to do with where he was going in the conversation.

True listening is about hearing the speaker. Both what they are saying and what they are not. It’s about catching their tone, their meaning, and their feelings about what they are communicating. What is NOT said is sometimes more important than what is. Body language and tone often beat out words as being more true.

This week, let’s keep it simple. Observe yourself, at home and at work, when you are listening. See just how often it’s to compose your reply before you have truly heard what is being said.

Then, if you want to be a better communicator, switch gears. Tune in. Pay attention. HEAR what is and isn’t being said. Truly listen. I guarantee it will change your reply, as well as the feelings you and the speaker have during your conversation.

I’ll be waiting for your comments, your outcomes. I’ll be waiting to hear how you caught yourself, what you observed and even what shifted.

Can’t Say “No?”

n n n nI have a serious question. How can we expect children to say “no” when we as adults struggle to say it ourselves?

We see it everywhere. Parents caving in to their children’s wishes, even after they already said “no.” It might be a request to buy something or to get an ice cream before dinner or to go to a friend’s house. It’s just easier to give in than to turn down a child’s request because deep down most parents want their children to be happy, protected from life’s disappointments.

But here is the dilemma. How can children be prepared to say “no” to peer pressure, to difficult choices, and to experimentation, when what they see all around them are adults who cave into pressure, insistence, wining and their own need to be liked.

I grew up in a time when parents frequently said, “Do as I say, not as I do.” We all know that approach doesn’t work because children copy what is modeled for them. Especially when we tell them not to.

If the majority of the time children observe adults unable to say no……to little requests…to family members who take advantage, to a neighbor who always needs help,  to a committee asking for more volunteer time, then how in hell can those kids learn to say “no” for themselves? How can kids learn to be strong and resist peer pressure? How can they learn to honor their bodies, their time, and their feelings,….. if instead they see it’s easier to just give in?

Children repeat what they see, becoming “people-pleasers” and saying yes to fit in, to be liked, and to be popular. How can we blame them?  They are simply modeling what they saw.

That’s a scary thought.

That two-letter word some adults just can’t seem to spit out just creates children who will struggle with “no” as well.

Children face lots of tests in school, on the playground, with friends and on social media. To safely navigate their way through these challenges, they must be comfortable with the word no. It must be a normal part of life and part of their vocabulary.  We want children to say no to peer pressure, to drugs, to breaking rules, to activities that might put their well-being at risk, to being inappropriately touched.girl hand no

To do so, they must be empowered to stand up for themselves. But they won’t be as long as they don’t see, experience and observe that behavior. Learning to say “no” comes directly from hearing “no” as an answer ourselves.

Are you good at saying “no” when appropriate?

Do you turn down invites you don’t want to attend?

Do you say no to unreasonable requests?

Do you say no when it makes you unpopular?

Do you say no when it disappoints someone?

Whatever struggles you have saying no will show up in your kids.

It’s never too late to begin using this powerful two-letter word.

Children need to develop a strong sense of self, confidence, and comfort with the word “no” so that when the time comes, that little word will roll right off their lips.

Stay tuned for more on this two-letter word and how to get comfortable with it in upcoming blogs.

Ladies, Are You an Apology Addict?

Women apologize too much. It’s true. Just observe your female friends for a few days or weeks and you’ll notice without a

women apologize too much

doubt, many women apologize too much. Not only too often but for too many things. Some women even make apologies for things beyond their control.

Think about it. Ever heard an apology for bad weather that ruined an outing or for the actions of someone else the apologize had nothing to do with, or for being bumped into? The list of unnecessary apologies is lengthy. Let’s just suffice it to say it is not uncommon for women to over-apologize, and that is a problem for all of us.

Let’s look at the impact of that habit:

1.       It creates a self-deprecating pattern for the apologizer, believing they are always at fault.

2.       It releases others from owning their part in conflict or confusion.

3.       It teaches people to expect others (apology-addicts) to take the blame.

4.       It moves -the focus from the person who was wronged to the person delivering the apology.

The benefit of an apology is for the person on the receiving end. It’s so they will feel better.  So they will know there was no bad intent.  It’s to set things straight. To clear the air.  Although there is a certain release for the person making the apology, it’s not really about them. It’s about the receiver.

But all of that changes with multiple, repetitive apologies.  Imagine this scenario.  At a gathering of friends, one person says they can’t stay for the entire event and will be leaving early. Their apology is made in advance. No problem and the gathering continues. Then at many points in the visit, the early departer reminds the group they must leave…each time with another apology. Sometimes they even share the reasons why they must go. This continues until it’s time to leave.

The apologies begin again….to the host and hostess, maybe to the entire group.  At this point, no one can count how many apologies were delivered, but everyone knows there were too many.

Instead of being an expression of sincere apology, these communications become an attention grabber, not necessarily intentionally, but an attention grabber all the same.  In an effort to curb the apologies, others reassure the apologizer saying things like:

  • “It’s all good. It’s not a problem.”   
  • “Oh don’t worry. It’s ok.”
  • “Oh forget about it. It’s not important.”
  • “It’s alright.”
  • “I understand. Don’t feel bad. I’m fine.”
Not altogether...but apologize no more than once or twice.

Not altogether…stop apologizing more than once or twice.

Instead of being a self-less act, the apology becomes self -focused.  The receiver feels obliged to make the apologizer feel better.

Who is this apology about anyway?

Ladies, if this sounds like you, make a change. Rarely do those who over-apologize intend to make it “all about them.” Unfortunately, that is the end result.

If this sounds like you…intentionally or unintentionally, stop. Learn to limit yourself to one, no more than two, apologies. One at the onset of the issue, and possibly a second one as you depart or end the conversation to show your good intentions.

For tips on how to deliver heartfelt apologies without over-doing it, stay tuned to next week’s blog post. And of course, share your thoughts and experiences with comments.

 

If You Don’t Tell Her, Who Will?

breaking the silence

You’ve been observing your best friend. You love her dearly, but—-and it’s a big but—- it appears she is headed towards a disastrous marriage. Or maybe she is dating a seriously controlling bad guy, an abusive guy. What do you do?

Do you say it? Do you tell her? Because if you, as a best friend or very dear friend, can’t tell her, who exactly is going to say it? Who is going to help her see what she can’t?

Clearly she is not seeing the whole picture.

Do you love her enough to say these tough things? Do you love her enough to risk facing her anger, her hurt feelings, and possibly a huge emotional outburst?

We worry friends might not like what we have to say. We’re certain they’ll be angry. We don’t know the way to say it. We fear saying it wrong, but deep down we really fear losing them, losing our friendship.  The social norm, “Mind your own business” comes to mind. Maybe it’s not our place we say to ourselves. Maybe they won’t want to hear it. Besides, maybe they already know it. Someone else will tell them, we hope. We don’t want to face this difficult conversation.

But no one else is going to tell them.  No one will speak up. If we are truly the friend we say we are, we need to be the one. We need to say it because true, deep, loving friends want the best for each other.  To be happy, safe, healthy and ideally to not experience pain…or much pain…in life.

If we are truly concerned for our friend’s well-being, our fears need to take a back seat.  Otherwise, we are actually putting ourselves first, not our friend. Some “bestie” we are!girls crying

Difficult conversations are just that. They include risks. They may trigger unpleasant reactions, but the message to be delivered is important and far outweighs the possible short-term reactions we may experience.  NOT delivering the truth, the message, the concern, the perspective includes far greater risks and far worse outcomes than someone being mad at us.

In my distant past, I had relationships with some real unhealthy guys. One in particular was dishonest, massively controlling, and manipulative; and over time, stole from me. Even so, not one of my friends told me the truth of what they saw, not until I was in pretty deep. Now I get that ultimately I was responsible for being in the relationship, but how might my life have been different if my friends at the time told me their truest deepest opinions and insights when the relationship started rather than after it was ended years later?  Might I have sped up my personal growth process? Might I have been able to see my patterns in relationship sooner? Might I have moved on to healthy relationships faster? What if, they told me what they saw and feared?  Maybe I would simply have been stubborn and continued in the same track. Or possibly, it might have saved precious time. I might have lost less of myself, my credit and even my savings.

Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, right?

Well, what if we added to that:

 Friends don’t let friends be disrespected.

Friends don’t let friends tolerate abuse.

Friends tell friends the truth, even when it’s really tough to say.

Here’s the deal. When as friends, we do speak the tough truth, we have to do so with these things in mind:

  • Your friend might choose not to listen. And that’s ok. It’s their choice and they may not yet be ready for the life lesson knocking on their door.  You still did the right thing.
  • They may get defensive. Sometimes the listener is still too mired in their denial, delusion, or pipe dream to see what we see. It’s ok; you still were a good friend.
  • Your friend may shut down entirely.  Your friend hearing your bad news may show no reaction and appear not to have heard you.  It’s ok; they did hear you, no matter how it looks.
  • You might become the bad guy. Upon hearing your perspective, your friend may defend their relationship choice and make you out to be the bad guy. That’s ok. You know the truth. You love them enough to speak up.

It’s important to keep in mind that none of us like hearing news that contradicts our feelings, especially those to do with “love” and relationships. Chances are your friend will react less than ideally to whatever tough-love conversation you have with them…at least initially.

As we deliver the news and observe our friend’s response, we must be neutral.  We need to be free of judgment. We must keep in mind the bigger picture… the long term well-being of our friends. Upon hearing what we have to say, our friend will need time to process. Time to think things over and maybe then ask more questions.

No matter what her reaction is, know this:  your sharing the honest truth planted a seed. Your friend may heed it now, or they may need time to process it, or even to hear it from others. But, you as their true friend have done your part by speaking truth. They and only they get to decide what to do with it.

tough love 2In my mind a really true friend loves me enough and has the guts to tell me the truth, plain and simple. The real good ones even love me enough to continue loving me even if I don’t “get it” right away. They wait. They give me time.

Have you ever had a friend show up for you at this level? A friend who loves you so much they are willing to piss you off, take the risk you will be ripping mad and even possibly shut them out, to protect you and show what you are not seeing for yourself?

I’d love to hear your stories. Then stay tuned for ” the way to say it”  in a tough-love conversation in my next blog post.

 

P.S. Sorry guys for ignoring you on this post, but in my experience guys tell their buddies when a woman is the wrong one for them. If I’m wrong on that count, let me know your experiences.

25 Great Responses to Graciously Receive Gifts

pile of gifts

If you read my blog post earlier this week, 5 Things Never to Say When Receiving a Gift, you may have discovered you are not the best at accepting presents or expressing genuine gratitude. Maybe you struggle with finding the right words, or feel self-conscious. Or just don’t know the way to say it and express what you feel. No worries.

Now that you’re aware of how you come across, you can respond differently and be a gracious receiver.  People will love you for it, and you will enjoy gift exchanges much more yourself. Who knows, you might even find yourself the recipient of more gifts!

To begin, let’s go review those “Five Things Never to Say…” and offer better alternatives:

  1. Instead of “Can I open this later?” how about something more positive and engaging like, “Oh thanks! I’d love to open this now!Now your gift giver knows that you’re excited to be getting a gift and don’t’ want to wait to open it. What a great feeling they get, knowing you are excited! It’s a gift giver’s dream.
  2. Instead of “Do I have to open this now?”  Say “Can I open this now?  I’m just too excited to wait.” Think about it…if they hand you the gift now, it’s because they want you to open it now. Otherwise they would have waited. Generally, people hand you their gift when they want you to open it. Don’t disappoint. Let them enjoy the giving and witness your response.
  3. Instead of saying, “Thanks. I have one of these,” simply be gracious and receive it well saying, Thanks so much! This is a great gift.”
  4. If and only if, the gift is expensive and you have it already, your response will be a little more challenging to be honest. Consider saying something like, “Wow, I love this. I can’t believe how well you know my taste! I do have this item though. Do you think we can decide together on something to exchange it for?”
  5. Time after time I hear people (mostly women) lament, apologize, and fuss over the fact that they didn’t buy a gift as well. PLEASE, if this is you, eliminate this response from your repertoire. Take a breath and slip into the role of gracious receiver. Simply say, “Thank you so much for thinking of me! What a nice surprise!”

….and now twenty more choices to be a pleasant, gracious receiver this Holiday:

6.    “Thank you very much. This is something I’d never have splurged on.”

7.     “How did you know? …..I’ve been wanting a _________________.”

8.     “I love this. It’s so unique.”

9.     “What a great gift! Many thanks.”

10.   “I appreciate your kindness.”

11.   “That was very sweet!” (or kind, or generous or thoughtful)

12.   “What a fantastic gift! Thanks so much!”

13.   “I LOVE presents. Can I open this right now?”

14.   “This is really touching. Thank you.”

15.   “I’ve always wanted to have a _______________.”

16.   “I love handmade gifts. They have such meaning. Thank you.”

17.   “Thank you for thinking of me.”

18.   “Wow! You really know my taste. I love this.”

19.   “This is a perfect gift choice for me.  Thank you!”

20.   “I so appreciate your thoughtfulness.”

21.   “Thanks so very much. This is wonderful!”

22.   “I’m delighted. Thank you.”

23.   “Thank you so much. I will treasure this gift.”

24.   “How kind of you to buy me a gift.”

25.   “What a wonderful surprise! Thanks for thinking about me.”

It’s not too late to be a wonderful receiver of gifts, acts of service, or hospitality this Holiday season. Simply try these responses and allow yourself to be a bit more open.

Regardless of the way you say it this Holiday and whether you find the right words, don’t be a Grinch!  Enjoy and let the gratitude in your heart come through to those who love you enough to purchase a gift they chose especially for you.

How-the-Grinch-Stole-Christmas

THANK YOU for following my blog! That is a great gift to me!

Happiest of Holidays!

 See you after the New Year with more of the way to say it.

5 Things Never to Say When Receiving A Gift

(Check out my next post this week for great responses to receive gifts graciously.)

You don’t have to be a child to LOVE receiving gifts. But, when it comes down to it, kids just naturally get it! They show excitement, excited child at Christmasenthusiasm, and happiness. Their faces light up. They exude emotion as they tear off wrapping and dive into their surprise.  With children, it’s not hard to tell if they’re delighted by a gift.

With adults—not so much. While some adults do resemble children when receiving a gift, the reactions of many adults leave much to be desired.  Here’s an example. I once struggled to find a great baby gift (not my forte) for a friend. When I gave her the present, she thanked me and promptly put it in her car. I never got to see if she liked it, was happy, or what. It simply disappeared.

My all-time favorite one though is this.  My husband and I once found a beautiful black sweater we loved so much, we not only bought one for a family member, but one for him as well. When the relative opened the gift, his wife critically blurted out, “Oh, black. I don’t know if we can get used to black on him!  Really? Of all the things to say, that was their best response?find your gift

Giving a gift requires time and effort. Even the smallest of gifts requires thought, shopping and money. In spite of this, we love to give presents.  And we love it because it makes us feel good.  The old adage, “It is better to give than to receive” hits the nail on the head.  We’re take pleasure in the act. We like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from bringing joy to others. For most of us to really feel that satisfaction, however, we have to know the gift was appreciated. We want to see and feel the receiver’s reaction.

Flat, indifferent responses take the joy out of giving. Don’t be an ingrate with responses like these in your gift-receiving moments:

“No-No” Responses:

  • “Can I open this later?” (meaning after you leave) – This response denies the giver all the joy of giving the gift. They don’t get to see your response and will definitely feel slighted hearing these words.
  • “Do I have to open this now?” – Seriously? Someone went to the trouble to think of, shop for and buy you a gift and you want to know if you HAVE TO open it now? This one is never a good response to generosity. It creates discomfort for everyone and most often the giver will respond politely with “No, you can wait,” but secretly inside they are disappointed.
  • “Oh, thanks, I just bought one (or got one) of these.” – Unless the gift is something you want and need two of, the “I just bought one” is unnecessary info that should be left out.
  • “Oh, my God… but I don’t have a gift for you!!”  This one is a common response among women, one that needs to be ditched. Giving a gift was the choice of the giver. If someone elected to purchase a present for you without specifically asking to exchange gifts, no apology is necessary.  They are doing what they wanted, expressing sentiment. Be a gracious receiver and let them know how surprised and pleased you are. I challenge you to say absolutely nothing about not having a gift for them.  Don’t take away from their generosity by apologizing and shifting the focus. Simply enjoy!
  • “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” – This is definitely an outdated saying. It’s from a time when people spoke more formally, less directly and more politely. How can the gift giver possibly respond but to explain and defend why they wanted to do this for you? Skip this response. 

So exactly what should you say? See our next post this week for great responses for gracious receiving and be sure to share these posts with people who want to be better receivers.

Now, tell me…what are your horror stories? What’s the worst thing ever said to you when you gave a present? I’d love to hear your experiences, too.

The-Way-to-Say-It Conversation

The Way to Say It is not just about finding the right words. The Way to Say It is a kind of conversation that steps into rather than shies away from difficult, challenging and uncomfortable topics. It is a mindset that says, “Let’s resolve this,” rather than “Let’s ignore it.”

It’s a belief that honest, direct conversation is more productive than beat-around-the-bush conversation. The Way to Say It is about continuing to improve our communication skills whether we are at home, at work, in a group or with one individual, young or old, self-employed or in the corporate world.talk

The Way to Say It is ALWAYS:

  • Honest and authentic
  • Direct and clear
  • Free of blame and attack
  • Without judgment
  • Intent on creating understanding and resolution
  • Free of sarcasm
  • Personally responsible
  • Able to say what needs to be said (not just what’s comfortable)
  • Willing to listen as well as speak
  • Calm and neutral
  • Free of manipulation
  • Brave and bold

I’m totally committed to this type of conversation whatever the topic. It’s an ongoing process…finding the right words, the right tone, the right approach to make all conversations bridges rather than dividers.

What topics do you find difficult in conversation? What communication challenge do you have questions about? I invite you to share, ask, speak, and follow me on this blog as we explore The Way to Say It  as a way of life.

 

How to Shift Gears, Save Time & Avoid Conflicts When You’re in a Bad Mood

warning bad mood in progressI’m a strong proponent of direct, honest, clear communication in just about every situation. That includes days when we are not at the top of our game. Or to be more direct, days we’re in a bad mood.

I recall times as a child trying to decipher body language, facial expressions and energy of adults. Trying to figure out if things were “safe” or if I needed to lay low.  Not knowing for sure what was up meant walking on eggshells till things calmed down.

I still don’t get why it had to be so difficult. Why not just say it?

It’s natural to have bad mood moments or even days. We shouldn’t feel guilty or stuff the feelings pretending they don’t exist. When denied, those feelings only intensify.

Why not just say it? I’m in a bad mood today. I’m having a tough morning. I’m not myself. I’m out of sorts. If we can just say it, the people around us will know to give us love or patience, or to just get the hell out of the way till we return to a better frame of mind.

By being real and honest and owning what’s up for us, we will not only move through it more quickly, we’ll also help those around us understand what we need.  The trick is knowing the way to say it, so we won’t be at a loss for words.

To manage a mood and avoid misunderstandings that result when your team doesn’t know what’s wrong,  use simple direct “I” statements. They tell those around us clearly, that we’re off our game and need a little time.

Your “bad mood” warning could sound like this:

  • “Right now I’m in a bad mood.  I want you to understand it has nothing to do with you.”
  • “I’m sorry to say I’m in a bad mood right now. I don’t want to take it out on you.”
  • “I would appreciate your understanding. Today, I’m not feeling myself. If you can give me some distance this morning, it would be a help.”
  • “I am not feeling patient right now. I need some quiet time. Think you could give me some space till I can move through this?”
  • “Katy today is going to be a busy day at the office so I wanted to give you a head’s up. I had a horrible start to my morning and need some time to turn that around. I’ll check in with you in about an hour.”
  • “Mike, I’ve got some personal things on my mind right now and they’re affecting my mood. Just wanted to let you know, if I seem short, it has nothing to do with you.”
  •  “I need you to know I’m really angry right now, but not with you. If you can just leave me alone for a bit while I figure things out, I’d appreciate that.”

 Just say it! It will give you the space you need to shift gears without wasting the energy of those around you.

In the workplace, productivity won’t suffer with your employees tiptoeing around you not knowing what’s wrong or if it’s them you are angry at. And at home, everyone will relax when they learn you’re in a bad mood, but it has nothing to do with them.   warning proceed with caution

Pick your favorite line above. Or make up your own and give others warning when you’re not at your best. Everyone benefits.