5 Ways to Avoid Saying Something You'll Regret

August 2, 2021 Martha Lueck

Have you ever wished you could take back something you said to someone? Maybe after a stressful day, you took out your frustrations on a family member, friend, or partner. Maybe you said something inappropriate to a colleague or teacher. In any case, saying things you regret can have negative consequences and cause lasting feelings of guilt. Here are five ways to avoid regret from your words.

5 Ways to Prevent Yourself from Saying Something You'll Regret

  1. Calm down before you confront someone. When something triggers your anger or frustration, you probably want to unleash all your feelings on someone. Doing so can lead to serious consequences such as ruining a relationship or getting fired from a job. When you feel heated, it's important to calm down. Some ways to do that include taking deep breaths, drinking water, meditating, or distracting yourself with a fun hobby. 
  2. Write a letter. Another way to avoid insensitive words is to write a letter about what you would like to say. This will help you evaluate your feelings about a person or your situation. After you write your letter, you can edit it or decide not to give it to the other person. The important thing is that all your feelings are released somewhere.
  3. Consider the timing. Sometimes a person's response to your words is about timing. If someone is busy or in a bad mood, wait to talk to them privately at an appropriate time. Doing this will allow the person to give you their undivided attention and process the information with a clear mind. One thing that can help you find the right time to talk to someone is to ask to schedule a time to have a conversation. This might require you to wait a few days, but it will help show the other person respect and patience.
  4. Show empathy during a difficult conversation. There is not always an easy way to say something. If you know that what you have to say will hurt someone, admit this and say that you hope the person will understand. After you relay the message, apologize and emphasize that you care about the person you're talking to. They will see your empathy and hopefully develop a sense of empathy themselves.
  5. Apologize if you say something hurtful. If you did all the above steps, it's possible that you still said something hurtful without realizing it at the time. Apologizing is a way to restore trust and express care and compassion. It can save friendships, relationships, and jobs. Make sure your apology is sincere by clarifying what you are sorry for saying. Then admit that it was wrong. Then try not to say it again.

Hopefully, these five steps will be effective for you. Do you have any of your own strategies to help you avoid saying something you'll regret? If so, share them in the comments.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2021, August 2). 5 Ways to Avoid Saying Something You'll Regret, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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Lizanne Corbit
August, 3 2021 at 6:31 pm

This is something just about everyone can relate to. Emotions are running high and out slips something we later wish we hadn't said. It leaves no one feeling good, and yet we often wonder how we can prevent it from happening again. These are wonderful suggestions that would be helpful to read through once and then make a note of so that the next time you're in an emotionally charged situation you'll be more likely to remember these suggestions.

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