What puts you on edge? You know that ‘everything is annoying me right now feeling’? When you are on edge you tend to get snippy and your tone tends to be less than calm. So how do you handle it? First, how do you handle yourself? Second, how do you handle a coworker, boss, or spouse who is speaking to you in a way you feel is unwarranted?
My edge tends to be from lack of sleep – a common occurrence with two small kids. Without sleep everything takes more effort and smiling is just harder. When you are immersed in the feeling – it is hard to pull yourself out. I have borrowed a method used mainly for kids when they misbehave – I give myself a time out.
I LOVE time outs! I feel terrible when I snap at my kids and they sometimes put me in time out too. I will even sit on the floor facing a wall when in a time out to show them that everyone needs to take some time to calm down and think sometimes.
When I am snippy with an adult I try two things:
- If I know I am in a mood, I warn people. This way people are more prepared and can brace themselves. It is the – apology in advance approach.
- If I don’t know I am in a state, and realize it later I try to own it. I go to whomever I spoke to and tell them that I realize I was snippy, explain best I can and seek forgiveness. People are more willing to forgive when you acknowledge your behavior wasn’t nice.
When I am dealing with someone else’s bad mood, it varies based on the person. For my husband, I know he gets edgy if he hasn’t eaten. I learned this when we were still dating and started carrying snacks in my purse. At first, I couldn’t understand why he was snapping at me. The tendency when you feel you are being wronged is to snap back. You give what you get. But that only leads to escalate the bad behavior. Now, if he starts to snap at me, I ask him if he was hungry. It is a subtle way of bringing his attention to it and disarms the situations.
Next time try to reduce the friction rather than amplify it. Try asking, “Is everything ok?” or “Do you need help with something?” or even, “Do you want to be left alone?” Show that you see something is going on and want to help – even if it is just by letting them be.