Tips: Short Tempers: Tips for Responding with Kindness
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, July 2008
There are so many times when people are snappy with us, show us their short tempered side, and our first reactions could be surprise, self protection, defensiveness, avoidance, or combat. When someone is initially thoughtless or rude, we can choose to respond to them similarly.
This is one way to deal with the situation. But perhaps, instead, you can consider a different, kinder response. Rather than escalating (which the similar response will surely do), bring it down a notch as Chef Emeril says.
Here are two tips to bear in mind when you find yourself in this situation:
• Consider Your Response Options - We all encounter people with an "attitude." Instead of responding to this person with the same (or worse) attitude take a breath (a really deep breath) and tell yourself that this person is having a difficult moment (day, life, whatever.) Do they need MORE hate or more kindness? Think about it. Consider responding with a smile, an open heart, and patience.
• Rewind and Start Over - You may (or may not) wish to say something. Perhaps, looking in their eyes with kindness is a start. You may wish to comment: "Seems like you are having a stressful time. "Let's back up and start again." "Can we begin with "hello?" Or maybe you can say, "No need to sound impatient. Let's take it from the top." Or, you can inject some humor: "Don't you just hate it when somebody comes up to you with a question? Well, I'm that somebody!"
Every interaction you have with another human being is important and can enhance or diminish you and them. Watch your words. Watch your attitude. Remember, how you choose to interact with people is always your choice.