Recently brought to my attention is the acronym W.A.I.T. It can mean, why am I talking? or what am I thinking? I thought it was brilliant. When put into those terms, the acronym supports the word by suggesting a pause before acting or reacting. A split second of pausing can make a huge difference. Comments that are better left unsaid don’t escape our mouths. Actions that need not occur are skipped entirely. I have yet to master W.A.I.T.
In an attempt to be humorous, I opened my mouth to a group of strangers. Ten or so bearded and tattooed men and a single woman sat around a restaurant table. In passing, I said to the woman, “One of these things is not like the others.” She indulged me in a slight laugh. My comment wasn’t all that funny and certainly wasn’t necessary. This became very clear when the man to her left returned my banter. He said, “You don’t know that! I might have a vagina too!” My challenge was to quickly and appropriately respond. “You’re right. And to be honest, I really don’t care if you do.”
Mind to mouth often leads foot to mouth, and no one wants that. Either of us could’ve paused and considered other possibilities that likely would’ve resulted in a more positive outcome. Better yet, we didn’t need to say a thing. No matter how good our intentions are, our words may be misinterpreted. I didn’t mean to stir up anyone or anything. Being they were all strangers to me, I don’t know if he was joking or offended. Next time, I’ll think twice before sharing my commentary.
Pausing makes our actions more intentional and less impulsive. The basis of W.A.I.T. is to think first. Tact, timing, and communication improve tremendously when you wait.