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“Before you act, listen.
Before you react, think.
Before you spend, earn. 
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive. 
Before you quit, try.”
William Arthur Ward

When I’m convinced it’s necessary to have a hard conversation or make a difficult decision, I wait 24 hours. 

If I think there’s absolutely no way I can put it off, I wait 48. 

The more distance I allow myself from the situation and the person, the less likely I am to react. Waiting increases my chances of making good choices and being kind. 

The first time I practiced the 24-hour rule, my head nearly exploded. I had so much to explain, so many critical points to make, and so much to fix. Twenty-four hours later, I couldn’t remember what I was upset about. I decided not to let that happen again. 

Next time my friend suggested I wait, I wrote down a detailed list of my points, which wasn’t the point. Waiting worked anyway. Even with the list, I questioned why I’d gotten so worked up the previous day. 

Waiting 24 hours isn’t magic, but it keeps peace for a moment. It doesn’t necessarily solve the problem, but it usually puts it in perspective. It also calms down my response. Most of the time, I decide not to respond at all. 

Also, having a 24-hour rule prevents me from reacting to random people like store clerks and waitresses who are having a bad day. I say to myself, “I’ll wait 24 hours, but tomorrow I’m going to …” Fill in the blank with a threat like calling their boss that I almost never follow through with. It’s easier to drop the offense than pick up the phone. 

Our church family says, “Drop it like it’s hot” – the offense, not the phone.

By the way, that dog image from (thank you, Pixabay) tickled me. That’s my waiting face too.

Any tips on dealing with offenses? What works best for you – handle it immediately or wait? Your comments help all of us. 

In This Together, 

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