Am I Overreacting? How To Know and What To Do
When we are dating someone we like, it is easy for our emotions to run high. When our emotions run high, it is easy to overreact. Preventing an overreaction is all about pausing, listening, and expressing yourself calmly – implementing the basics of conflict management.
Your overreaction could be to something small, like not getting a text response in an appropriate time frame, or something larger, like learning that your partner is still in contact with their ex. No matter the content of the issue at hand, we don’t want to overreact. In fact, we don’t even want to react at all. We want to respond.
When you are feeling anxious, upset, frustrated, or angry with someone you are dating, first take a pause and then gently respond rather than impulsive reacting. Before you say or do anything, pause for 30 seconds, 30 minutes, 3 hours, 3 days... just PAUSE. Then, you will be able to respond to the situation rather than react to the situation.
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Reacting (and overreacting) are always impulsive. Reacting means:
- Being defiant or stubborn
- Jumping to conclusions
- Making assumptions
- Texting & calling repeatedly
- Refusing to give space
- Turning in on yourself
- Clamming up & being quiet
- Shutting the other person out
Responding, on the other hand, is clear, calm, and well-reasoned; but you can only respond after you've paused for X amount of time. Responding means:
- Thinking & considering
- Taking a pause and going for a walk
- Asking to pick up this conversation later
- Putting your phone away while you collect your thoughts
- Checking in with a third party that you trust
- Checking in with your gut feeling
- Calmly communicating your needs/desires
- Gently communicating your feelings
- Relinquishing control of the outcome
Yes, I know it is easier said than done. Just because it is simple doesn’t mean it is easy to implement. But begin practicing this in little ways every day – with your friends, your boss, your mom, and your dates – and pretty soon you’ll be as calm and even-tempered as a monk, with no overreactions in sight!
Kevin Nahai from the Keys Team
Dating & Relationship Coach