I’d like to share with you my 6 favorite words to improve all of your relationships.
What are those magic words you ask?
“Let me get back to you”
As simple as that may sound, it gives you time to consult your body to find out the most aligned answer for you.
Considering the varying layers to the decision, instead of just responding how the other person expects you to, these 6 words, give you the time to explore the best decision for you.
There is a famous quote from Viktor Frankl, that sums up the biggest benefit to these 6 words*:
“Between stimulus and response, there is space
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Our response to what is requested of our time and energy are connected to habitual responses that come from our early conditioning.
If we grew up taking care of a sad mom or addicted dad – our instinct is to notice what others need – before knowing what we may have left within ourselves to give.
It’s hardwired into us. What we notice in others takes our attention and often we can sense their needs before we know our own.
So today in your professional life, you may instinctively say yes when a colleague asks you for some help even when feeling overwhelmed in your own life. Leaving you feeling resentful and even annoyed to be asked.
Or in your relationship, you may find yourself reacting strongly to a partner’s unfortunate habit like leaving socks on the floor, making this mean that they don’t respect or love you if they keep leaving their socks all over the place.
Or with your children, in reaction to your overwhelm, you may find yourself responding critically in a moment that you wish you could take back.
We want to take a moment to consider our habitual responses that can damage our connections in important relationships today.
3 Examples of How This Simple Phrase is a Relationship Game-Changer
Let me get back to you … after I check my calendar
Gives you a moment to reflect on other commitments, and energy levels and to get clear within yourself if this is something you’d even like to do.
Taking some time for yourself, taking a few deep breaths can calm your nervous system so you can settle back into yourself and make the best decision for you that eliminates feeling of regret after the fact.
Let me get back to you ….
Gives you the power to interrupt your habitual patterns of responding. Taking some time to find the right decision for you and considering your response rather than reacting out of habit means you can change the habitual patterns of relating between you and the other person.
This can be used when you are invited to fun things like a friend wants you to join her at a party she’s excited about.
By responding first with ‘sounds fun, thanks for the invite, let me get back to you on that’ can offer you a bit of space to listen to your body. When you do take that time for yourself, you might even be surprised to find that you’re hesitant about going, realizing you’d be overcommitting to another thing as that week is quite full. This avoids backing out at the last minute or trying to find a way to leave this party you didn’t want to go to in the first place – early.
This isn’t a small change, it has the power to profoundly reshape everything towards healthier dynamics in all of your relationships.
That’s an important decision, I want to give it my full attention, let me get back to you.
When confronted with an unexpected or difficult situation, sometimes we can freeze or just respond in the way the other person expects us to.
What if your friend wants you to invest a large sum of money in a promising business opportunity?
Instead of an immediate ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ saying “That’s an important decision, I want to give it my full attention, let me get back to you” can provide you with the space to consider the investment carefully, ask relevant questions, and communicate your thoughts thoughtfully while appreciating your friend’s enthusiasm for the business idea.
Once the decision has been thought through, it’s much easier to truly own the decision, instead of blaming your friend or worst case scenario having this be the reason the friendship ends if the business venture doesn’t go as planned.
What If They Push Back When You Say “Let Me Get Back To You”
Even if the other person isn’t comfortable waiting for your answer, you are cultivating the ability to notice what happens for you when you might disappoint that person close to you. The practice of choosing you and your needs over the other person’s wants and needs.
Difficulty setting boundaries can often be traced back to a childhood where you may have received the message that not doing what others want you to do results in being left out – judged or completely rejected.
Often our secret fear is losing the relationship if you stop doing the heavy lifting.
The roots of people pleasing are created when a child believes love must be earned; when parental approval is only based on their ‘good’, often conforming behavior.
As adults, they may not have a strong relationship with themselves or really know what they truly need or want in any given situation. Instead, they are living from the default of giving themselves away for connection or placing more attention on the other person and noticing what they need or prefer.
Standing between stimulus and response are the fast-myelinated pathways of our habitual ways of reacting.
By taking a short pause, the “Let Me Get Back To You” allows you to create some healthy changes in relating with those you love.
Transform your relationships by incorporating these 6 words into your conversations at critical moments. Those moments where you really do need a moment to calm yourself, choose how you would like to respond and offer the other person your best self rather than your habitual self.
Take a moment to consider which relationships feel the most challenging to remain rooted within yourself.
Which relationships do you find yourself in people-pleasing mode?
What can “Let Me Get Back To You” give to you in the way of protecting more of your time and peace of mind?
* Viktor E. Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor. He wrote about his experiences in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” which includes this profound insight on human behavior and the power of choice.