“Give It Time” Part 3 – Say What?

In Part 1 I wrote about the conflict resolution tip of “giving it time” and waiting for an optimal time to have a discussion rather than forcing the other party into your agenda. In Part 2 I explained why this works so well. My clients often ask me for examples of how they can put these tips into practice. They want to know the actual words they can say. So, if you find yourself in conflict with someone and you think it would be helpful to have some more time before you try to communicate, here are some things you can say to “give it time.”

Say your part, but allow them the time they need: 

Can you listen to me explain my side of things and then you can take time to think about it and respond when you’re ready?

Would it be okay if I told you how I feel and you don’t have to respond right now?


Be considerate to someone who is hearing difficult news for the first time:

I know what I just said is probably news to you and I’ve had time to think about it so would you like to continue this another day?

I’ve had time to think about this and I know you haven’t. We need to talk about this but you let me know when you’re ready.

I know what we just talked about is a big deal so why don’t we take some time to consider how we feel and we can talk again on the weekend?


Relieve stress by starting out with the expectation that this initial talk isn’t going to go on forever and have a chance to get out of hand:

We usually argue when we talk about this issue so could we set a timer for 15 minutes and then after that we won’t talk about it at all until tomorrow?

I think this topic is stressful so why don’t you tell me when you need to stop talking about it for today?

Would it work for you if we agree that we’ll end this conversation at 2pm?


Allow the other party to choose when and how they’re ready to talk about the issue:

I really need to talk about this but I know it’s stressful so would you like to pick the time and place that works for you?

Would it be easier for you to have a FaceTime call about this rather than to meet in person?


Consider which of these might work well for you and try them out before you get into conflict.

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