the long pause

Recently I have found myself intentionally taking more "long pauses."

Do you know what I mean? When someone asks me an important question, instead of quickly responding I just wait a few moments and become "mannequin man." It's a bit creepy to my wife when I do it, but usually necessary because of the topic. I actually didn't notice it until she started pointing it out to me, but I do know why I do it in the first place.

I'm not who I was.

When you take "the long pause" you are saying that you are considering more than your first (perhaps carnal) reaction to something. And by that I don't mean you do it because it's academically a good idea. You do it because you feel the weight of the possible consequences regarding that particular choice - and so every option and "what if?" is considered, reconsidered, and then considered again.

Of course, this can work against you if "the long pause" becomes "the long stop." Some worry so much about the burden of their decision that they never make one.

Now that I know I'm doing this, I myself and others doing it in a lot of places. Just recently I saw it on TV show when a (fictional) military leader had to make a key decision. There was no dialogue for several minutes - just the long pause. And then I saw it yesterday as my hands froze over my computer keyboard before I started to respond to a very tender issue.

The general promise of this is that you will find your relationships becoming healthier. Unfortunately, it doesn't always turn out that way if you are dealing with someone who is more reactionary. Still, you do stand a better chance of guiding even that kind of chaos forward if you can keep a handle on keeping a handle.

I invite you to pause, reflect on that, and respond.

1 comment:

  1. My wife has pointed the same "reaction" out to me. She'll ask a question and then.....(silence).....she'll say "well, what do you think?".....(more silence)....then response. Okay, maybe this is a slight exaggeration but I totally get what you are saying. I also agree with your reasoning, but I hadn't thought of it that way until I read your post. Thanks for the insight.

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