Saying something that shouldn’t have been said is a common regret all of us have. Again and again, we promise ourselves to be better next time only to see ourselves fail repeatedly at this frontier. On the other side, we also remember verbal pain inflicted by others much longer than ordinary conversations, perhaps permanently.
I read somewhere the following simple questions one has to ask before opening our mouth in situations that can have a probability of being sensitive. For something to be said, pass it through the following 3 tests.
- Is it true?
- Is it necessary for me to say it?
- Is it necessary for me to say it now?
The second test will filter out most of the unnecessary comments we have about a person/place or situation. By the time you reach the third test, just being unsure might prevent us from saying something that can leave a permanent scar in another person’s mind.
In addition to the above, there is another hidden advantage in this strategy. It will almost always check us from saying anything in a fit of rage, because having a momentary pause between the stimulus and the response naturally dampens out the response. If not for any other reason, practicing this 3-step model can prove priceless here.