Would you like to learn an effective way to tame your tongue and master your mouth? And I’m not just talking about disengaging your brain by counting silently to 10 (although that’s actually helpful). I’m talking about great one-liners to use to keep your cool the next time you get angry.
It’s a proactive, practical approach to prevent you from becoming a “reaction junkie” when someone offends you. How? By trying these 12 great one-liners I use to keep from losing my temper like a teenager and pouting like a political pundit.
“I’m sorry, what do you mean by that?”
Use this question whenever someone does or says something so crazy it makes you wonder if they’re even from your planet.
“What do you think I meant by that?”
Use this question when you think you’ve offended someone and they’re getting defensive or upset about something you said.
“I’m listening, so tell me—what’s going on?”
Use this question to calm someone down who’s extremely angry when you don’t understand why.
“I don’t understand; could you explain that to me?”
Use this question when your communication with the person gets stuck, and you’re getting frustrated because the conversation isn’t moving forward.
“How would you respond to that if you were me?”
Use this question when you suspect that someone is being disrespectful or rude to you. Example: “Based on how you just yelled at me, I’m curious: If you were me, how would you respond to that?”
“What were you expecting from me?“
Use this question when someone gets mad at you or expresses disappointment in you and you think it’s unfounded and unfair.
“How did that make you feel when that happened/when I said that?”
Use this question when someone seems hurt and angry because of something you said/did that they deemed insensitive or uncaring.
“What made you decide to do (say) that?”
Use this question to give the person a chance to correct or explain what they did and why they did it.
“Why do you think that happened?”
Use this question to get the other person’s perspective on something that happened that personally offended you.
“How do you think you/I could’ve handled that differently/better?”
Use this question to soften the blow or damage after an argument.
“What do you need most from me right now?”
Use this question to keep the other person’s anger and the disagreement from escalating.
“How much time do I have to respond to that?”
Use this question to buy time when someone’s verbally pushing you into a corner and you’re tempted to retaliate. Example: “Based on your accusation, it’s obvious you’re upset. So, before I address your concerns, how much time do I have to respond to what you just said?”
If practiced and mastered, these clarifying one-liners will give you time so you can keep control of yourself and respond properly to whatever triggers you in an argument, debate, or disagreement.
Earn some points: Married? Discuss this iMOM article with your wife: How to Diffuse Your Child’s Anger.
Sound off: What great one-liners would you add to this list?