How to STOP the (Digital) Drama

Welcome! I’m a practicing psychologist, author and apology critic who helps people find the right words for the right situation. I use my creativity to help my clients and friends work on their relationship and communication puzzles.

Do you have a hard topic to talk over with someone? Perhaps you need to circle back to a bad situation and offer an apology. Maybe you need to ask someone to act better next time. Whatever your challenging topic is, emails, texts, tweets and Facebook messages will all fall short.

Why? Because all these forms can sound harsh. Even if you thought about your words and chose them carefully, they can lack a gentle tone of voice for softening your message. Also, it’s hard to gauge through email and texts when to stop. If your message is upsetting, you won’t hear the protests from the other side and you won’t be able to tailor your words to fit their reaction. For dealing with awkward situations, or in offering an apology it’s best to arrange to talk in person. If that isn’t possible, pick up the telephone.

What should you do if the shoe is on the other foot and you receive an email bomb but want to work things out? First, step away from the computer. Calm down, get into a peacemaking frame of mind, then do what they should have done: reach out in person. Try saying this, “I appreciate where you’re coming from but I think we need to talk about this by phone.”

Finally, NEVER break up with someone via text. This point might seem obvious but here is an actual break-up text a young person showed to me. It said, “I just don’t think this relationship thing is going to work.” I was speechless. In summary, don’t hide behind digital media.  It’s kind and respectful to reach out to others in person. When in doubt, use the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Deal with problems directly, give people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, and don’t be harsh. Your friends and colleagues will appreciate your efforts.

How about you? Are you seeing too much digital drama? Leave a comment and be entered in my monthly drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card.

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