Watch that temper!

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 12:00am


Only a perfect person never, ever loses his or her temper. That person is not me - and I am sure it is not you.

When we lose our temper, politeness usually disappears in an instant and we find the situation getting worse.

Yet one way to stop this happening is to be calm and polite when we feel we are about to become very angry.

Take a deep breath, count to 10, and instead of shouting at the person who has made you want to lose your temper, respond in a firm and polite way, saying how you feel but remaining well-mannered.

This is sometimes easier said than done, but it is certainly worth the effort.

I am not pleased

We lose our temper when someone does or says something that upsets us.

Here are a few useful phrases to say after you have counted to 10.

1 What exactly did you mean by that? That is not a very nice thing to say.

2 I am not pleased with what you've just said. Could you please explain what you meant?

3 You knew that would upset me, so why did you do/say it?

4 I cannot believe you think that. We will have to agree to disagree.

5 What you did has upset me a great deal. An apology would be very nice.

6 I am sorry, but I will never agree with you about that. I hope we are not going to fall out over it.

7 Look! I don't want to have an argument with you, but I think you are wrong.

8 We are all entitled to our own opinions, but I disagree with you strongly.

Be careful of what you say

Sometimes we can cause someone else to lose his or her temper by saying the wrong thing or the right thing in the wrong way.

Good manners are all about thinking about what we say and how to say it politely.

Here are some situations when it would be very easy to say something in a sharp or impolite way and so create a situation when tempers might erupt.

Which is the polite thing to say in these situations?

1 Your brother has been a long time in the toilet, and you want to use it.

a. How much longer are you going to be in that bathroom? You don't own the place!

b. Chris! Are you going to be much longer in there? I need to use the loo.

2 You are late for a dinner date with a good friend, who is very annoyed when you finally arrive.

a. Why are you getting so angry? I'm here, aren't I?

b. I did try to call you to say that I might be late, but your phone was busy. I really do apologise for keeping you waiting.

3 Your sister has told your dad something that you had asked her to keep a secret.

a. It was no business of yours to tell Dad! I am so mad!

b. I'm very disappointed that you have let me down. Please don't do it again.

4 Someone has bumped into you in the street and spilt their coffee down your new T-shirt.

a. You clumsy fool! Look what you've done!

b. Don't worry! No problem It will wash.

Polite or politically incorrect

British Prime Minister David Cameron recently got into a lot of trouble because some people say he was impolite to a female opposition party member of parliament.

During the prime minister's question time in the House of Commons, a woman MP from the Labour Party lost her temper when Cameron said something.

The prime minister said to her, 'Calm down, dear!' and there was an uproar.

Cameron has been accused of being rude, impolite and sexist.

What do you think?


Be careful of what you say: 1. b, 2. b, 3. b, 4. b