The Four Rs: How to Handle Emotional Triggers in Communication
February 21, 2023 by Scott D'Amico

It's okay to admit it, we've all been there before. You receive a message and instantly become upset, so you immediately respond without thinking twice. But then comes the regret. Sending a text, email, or making a phone call when you're upset is never a good idea. The emotions that we experience can cloud our judgment and lead to consequences that we may later regret.

To avoid this situation, it's important to remember the four Rs: Rest, Recalibrate, Review, and Reconsider.

When you receive a message that triggers an emotional reaction, let it rest. Put your phone down, walk away from your computer, and don't do anything with that message for at least a few minutes. This will give you time to recalibrate your emotions and regain your composure.

Once you're back to your baseline, review the message to ensure you read it correctly the first time. With so much going on, it's easy to misunderstand, misread, or misinterpret messages. Reviewing the message and your response is crucial. If this is an email, it's a good idea to remove the recipient's address from the "To" field while you're writing and reviewing.

Finally, reconsider whether the message warrants a response and if your response is appropriate. Sometimes, it may be more appropriate to handle the situation with a phone call rather than a text or email.

Next time you find yourself in a situation where you're upset by a message, remember the four Rs. Don't let your emotions send you down a path of regret. Take the time to rest, recalibrate, review, and reconsider before responding.