The Three Second Rule

Colin - West Deptford, New Jersey
Entered on April 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in always waiting at least three seconds before answering a question or making a comment. Most things said incorrectly or insensitively are said in haste. But following the three second rule could easily reduce the risk of this.

The three second rule is simple. All you need to do is to count to three in your head while thinking about what to say and how to say it, or if you should even say anything at all. It’s easy to use, hassle free, and can prevent you from getting into a situation that is difficult or uncomfortable.

I recall one instance in my life where waiting three seconds before speaking saved the day. For my father’s birthday last year, my family and I had planned to pretend that we forgot it was his birthday, and when he came home from playing golf everyone would be at the house for a surprise party. The day started out pretty much as planned. My father came downstairs expecting a happy birthday wish from everyone, then got subtly but noticeably upset when he realized that no one was going to say anything. He started dropping little hints here and there trying to make some one realize it was his birthday. With a grim look upon his face, he went out to run his errands and visit with some friends and family.

When he returned, that same grim look was still on his face. No one he had met all day had wished him a happy birthday because, of course, everyone was in on our little gag. Slouched down on the couch, my father let out a loud, disappointing sigh, then announced that he wasn’t quite up to go golfing that day.

As soon as I heard that threat to all our weeks of planning, my mouth popped open and I was just about to scream at him that he had to go or else he would ruin the surprise party. But, just before my voice came out, I remembered the three second rule and restrained myself.

After some serious persuading, my mother did finally convince my father to go golfing and the party was saved. He came home to a great surprise and I was so thankful that I hadn’t ruined that moment for him.

If everyone on Earth waited three short seconds before speaking, enormous amounts of feelings would be unhurt and millions of controversies would not be created. Overall, people would be much friendlier and less stressed out over the little things. Three seconds can make a difference. This I believe.