Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

(And did they really want to hear about the frog that you washed with your laundry as a kid?)

For years, I’ve struggled with inadvertently hurting, offending, or annoying people with off-hand comments and derailments of the conversation, especially when I’m hypomanic or manic.  But, really, it’s a problem all the time.  At best, it makes things super awkward and sets off my anxiety.  At worst… well, you get the idea.  It doesn’t go well.

I was the kid with no verbal filter and no sense of what would be appropriate to add to a conversation and what wouldn’t.  If it came to mind, I said it, and I jumped topics like a rabbit on the run.

At least I used to.

More recently, I’ve been trying to follow the Rule of Three.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen this attributed to just about everyone, and a search isn’t bringing up a conclusive source, so I can’t credit it.  (Am I wrong?  Please let me know who originally came up with this!)

Basically, the idea is that every time you speak to someone you should evaluate your words.  Are they true?  Are they necessary?  Are they kind?  If they’re not, then you probably shouldn’t say whatever you’re thinking.

I’m making a real effort to follow this along with this added rule: Is it directly relevant to the topic we’re covering in this conversation?  Because if it isn’t, they probably don’t want to hear that crazy story you just remembered.

Because me and tangents.   *sigh*

It’s both harder and easier than I initially expected.

Harder because I have to remember to stop and actually ask myself these questions before I speak.

Easier because I have none of the internal fretting where I would open my mouth and instantly regret it.  Conversations are suddenly way less stressful… especially afterward when I’m anxiously rehashing it in my head.

And I’m far less likely to derail the conversation into some random trivia that I just now remembered and have to share and, hey, did I tell you about that time –

Except when I’m hypomanic/manic.  Then all bets are off.

I’ve also been trying to apply this to my Internet usage.  I type up a response and then sit on it for a few minutes before I hit ‘send’.  And more often than not?  I trash it and move on it.

Someone can be wrong on the Internet without me.  *smile*

Do you have difficulties self censoring or staying on topic?  How have you dealt with this in your daily life?  Have is it helped?