So you just got home from work. Your boss is on your ass, your employees aren't doing their jobs, and all of the stress, and blame, falls on you. You're tired, mentally drained, and the only thing you want to do is relax. But the second you walk through the door, your partner is on you because apparently you forgot to take out the trash this morning.
It's not unusual for us to react poorly in this situation. You're overly stressed and your immediate response is probably something along the lines of, "Why don't you do it yourself? Get off my back!" But that response is going to lead to another fight. You know this from experience. So what do you do? First, take a breath. It's okay to ask for a time out in that moment. "I'm feeling overwhelmed. Right now I need a time out for 15 minutes to catch my breath. Then we can talk about it." Next, acknowledge the mistake, take ownership and don't get defensive or pass blame. Most importantly, offer a solution. "I'm sorry I forgot the trash. I'll set a reminder in my phone so I remember next week." Remember, effective communication means recognizing your partners' point of view and taking ownership of your own emotions. You're stressed, and you're pissed off. But snapping at them is only going to make it worse and cause a bigger fight. By asking for a breather, acknowledging your role in the situation, offering a solution, and remaining calm, this doesn't have to turn into WWIII.