Why We Can't Keep Our Mouths Shut

All of us have moments when we can’t help ourselves and we blurt out things we ultimately regret. Understanding the underlying reasons for blurting gives us the insight we need to stop it. Read More

A Blurter

Over the years, I’ve employed a few techniques to help regain composure when something or someone has set me off. If the event was triggered via an email, I immediately write a response. A scathing response! But I don’t send it. I keep it in my draft folder. This serves two purposes: one, it affords me some time to
calm down and reassess the situation. Often, after a few hours, and I’ve had a chance to reread my response, I just delete it. Other times, I edit/modify and send it on. The second reason to wait before reacting is; many times, other recipients who were on the original email will have responded, either defusing the situation or have taken on the battle themselves. If the situation comes about during a meeting, hallway exchange, or phone call, again, I don’t respond immediately if other people are party to the verbal exchange. When I get back to my desk, I compose an email response and place it in my draft folder and follow the same procedure previously described. You need to judge each situation as they happen and respond appropriately. Some moments call for putting someone in their place then-and-there. Other times, restraint is called for. Just think twice before you react. - from "A Lifetime Working with Idiots & How to Survive". Visit: www.WorkingWithIdiots.net

re: A Blurter

I really like this, Douglas. Thanks for sharing!

A Blurter

Interesting. I would consider a "blurter" a conflict seeking person, but it seems reasonable that by sabotaging the communication they are actually avoiding a conflict. Thanks for sharing Dr. Reeder.


Thanks for your comment, Dave. I see what you are saying. Some blurts may be a way of "ending" a conflict (at least for now) since others will be intimidated to engage with us in dialogue.


Most people who escalate arguments seem more prone to personalizing the content. Hence, for them the concept of framing the argument gets muddy. Also, I've found that it's better to use humor when appropriate, as it has a way of dialing down the conflict. Avoiding those who invariably "push buttons" is a good thing as well.

re: personal

Thanks for your comment about personalizing. The research article I'm referencing here found that higher levels of blurting are associated with higher levels of neuroticism. Since neuroticism is characterized by "anxiety, moodiness, worry, envy, and jealousy," personalizing theoretically makes sense.

Many people have commented to me that they used to be blurters but aren't anymore, so we can develop new mental, emotional, and communication skills if we're motivated to do so.