There are times when still acting in civil and respectful ways in a relationship is essential when you are actually feeling quite negative. It can simply be poor timing to fully open up about it all. Consider intense feelings of anger, resentment, pessimism, cynicism, and so on. When you are feeling in some of these highly negative ways, showing these feelings openly and fully at that moment can be taxing and will often create conflict and difficulties in relationships. This is especially true when you are at risk for actually lashing out or losing control on the other person.
Where is the Other Person At?
While good open communication can be a productive way to handle your negative feelings, this is usually best done when the other person is reasonably up for hearing and responding to what you are saying. Please do not ignore or fail to consider the state of the other person. When they are not up to receive you and your emotional state, there may be a need for you to keep it in and just act civil, decent, respectable, composed, and in control around them for a while--until a later time comes to better to share your feelings. Sometimes it just isn’t a good time to get into it.
If you are notably upset or in a bad mood, step back and consider the other person. What mood are they currently in? Are they in any kind of mood to reasonably handle your bad mood and what you have to say? Because if not—if they are in an equivalent or even worse mood, the timing is poor and the exchange between you both will probably go badly. At the very least they will probably not listen or react well to whatever you have going on. Bad feelings or even an argument may ensue. So, perhaps you can choose to hold your feelings for the time and look for a better opportunity later to express yourself. Rarely is there a true need to express yourself immediately. Give yourself some extra time.
Consider Your Own Level of Control:
Acting civil and delaying a negative discussion also allows yourself to calm down, think out the situation more, and approach the later discussion in a better and more composed fashion. There is an old saying: discretion is the better part of valor. Also, “look before you leap”. As you consider both where the other person is at and how in control you are, you can give yourself and the other person time to get reasonably composed. In this way, the discussion will be far more likely to go better and be constructive and productive.
If you are too upset to maintain your composure and act civil around the other person, you also may wish to take a time-out and physically separate yourself away from the other for a while to cool off and regain composure. So whether you just act civil around them or separate yourself to cool off for a while, act strategically. Be very careful when you open up. The main point: when you both seem reasonably up for the discussion, this will be a better time to talk it out. Don’t force it. It usually isn’t worth it.
Ideally, getting along becomes more important than the need to immediately express yourself, especially when in a very bad mood. Most of the time you can give yourself extra time before emoting and sharing that bad mood with the other person. If you are not in control of yourself and/or the other person is not in a receptive enough mood, please find a better time. Minimize or avoid regrettable moments. Remember the scripture: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”—Mathew 5:9.
Also, here is some wise advice as you carefully choose when you will share highly negative states/situations. President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “When you are married, be fiercely loyal one to another. Selfishness is the great destroyer of happy family life. If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on throughout eternity” (Ensign, Dec. 1995, 67). In short, prioritize your relationship and how they are doing and feeling first, then look at yourself. Because “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.”
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).