Decisions based on an emotional reaction not using the emotion of your gut can often lead to unfortunate and unpredictable outcomes.

How often do you feel regretful and remorseful about your reaction to a situation as you did not think more carefully before you responded?

Where possible don’t feel you need to respond immediately as it can be very important to give yourself time. In other words WAIT before responding to work out what needs to be considered most in making important decisions.

This does not show weakness but can be an important opportunity for working out what needs to be given priority in decision-making which is not always what our emotions can trigger in us.

When someone sends you a rude email what should you do?

Author and leadership expert Simon Sinek suggests that you:

  1. Take a pause and temper a potential emotional reaction by writing a response but not sending it immediately.
  2. Ask yourself first “What good will come of this?” before making a decision.

If you only want to make good decisions then sometimes it gets confusing.

What are your choices in responding to such a dilemma when triggered?
  1. Do you decide to be nice and not make a big deal of something that has had a strong impact by sending a message that doesn’t really reflect the extent to which the other person has affected you?
  2. Do you send them a vitriolic and angry response that is intended to put them in their place?
  3. Alternatively, do you decide to just let it go and move on?
If you are operating from a perspective that you only want to make decisions that lead to a positive outcome then Simon Sinek’s response would be to question the value of taking any action in such a situation.

As for the world of social media with so many platforms for online communication, we need to be giving greater emphasis to the importance of how we respond to the emotions this type of communication can trigger. A step back can be one of the most helpful decisions you can make.

Think very carefully before you respond and sometimes no response can be the best response!

More than anything I hope this offers food for thought and encourages you to check out Simon Sinek’s Capture Your Flag interview to work out what you think is the best way to manage emotions when making important decisions.

If you feel that this is a pattern for you that is contributing to distress or harm to your relationships, it may be helpful to explore this further with one of our psychologists.

Rachael Elliott

Clinical Psychologist