How To Call Time Out Unilaterally

This is part 5 of a 5 part series on Time Outs excerpted from our book, “The Secret to Lifetime Love”.

What if you need to take a Time Out because you are triggered or you are seeing the person in front of you is triggered? What should you do if they have not been trained how to take a time out. This is the last post in our series on what to do when you are the only one trained in how to take a Time Out.

If I Need To Take A Time Out But The Other Person Has Not Read This Book

When we teach Time Out in our conferences, inevitably someone will raise a hand and ask how they can teach their horrible boss or frustrating coworker to use Time Out. Roy teaches corporate teams, small businesses, churches and other groups these same communication techniques for maximum productivity within teams. These communication tools work in relationships with children, employees, supervisors, neighbors, group members, etc.

You can take Time Out when no one else in the conversation has a clue about it! You do not have to necessarily call it a Time Out. Roy likes to tell a story about his use of this technique early in his career.

“I was running one of the largest family-serving nonprofits in Texas and it was going through some considerable changes. One of our coworkers seemed especially able to push the buttons of the other Senior Leaders, including me! During one such meeting, she had several of us “triggered” at the same time, because she was taking credit for something that we knew she did not do! I wanted to take a Time Out so that I could think about the best approach to dealing with her and the other members. I requested a break by saying, ‘I know this is a very important discussion and I don’t want to miss it. But nature is calling, and I need to leave the room. Can we take a 10 or 15 minute break and reconvene?’ During the break, I was able to step outside and take a few breaths as well as visit the restroom for some quiet time. When we reconvened, it seemed that people on our team had a better handle on their own emotions and the meeting proceeded without any big flare- ups.”

You do not have to teach others what a Time Out is, nor do you have to call it a Time Out. But find a way to take a break and calm yourself. You will be serving yourself and others well if you take advantage of such a break.

The Time Out Rules below are on a page that you can print and post on your refrigerator, or keep somewhere handy in your home. Our hope is that you will implement these skills and reap the benefits of a healthier relationship.

Time Out Rules Review

  1. Request a Time Out if Emotional Energy Is Increasing
  2. Communicate the Request for a Time Out
  3. State an Estimated Time to Continue the Discussion (No Longer Than 24 Hours)
  4. Return to the Conversation as Scheduled
  5. No Talking About the Subject Until Scheduled
  6. Communication About Other Things Continues During Time Out (No Silent Treatment)

What do you have to say?

We love to hear from readers.  Have you ever needed to call a Time Out and the other person was clueless about it?  What do you think about the Time Out rules?  What recommendations would you add to this list?

This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at [email protected].

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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