What are your hot buttons? No, not that kind of hot button. Get your mind out of the gutter!
We all have them. They are the triggers, words, phrases, facial expressions, or comments that make your blood boil. I remember when I was growing up, the one that killed my mother was “What-ever (insert eye roll here)”.
What’s the value of knowing your hot buttons? If you know what they are, you significantly improve your relationships, spend less time frustrated, and get results more efficiently and effectively. By having some self-awareness and communicating expectations to the people closest to you, you can minimize (not eliminate) the number of times your hot buttons get pushed, and you can spend less time being reactive.
The first step is to identify your triggers or hot buttons. Pay attention to conversations, situations, or people that bother you. What is it about what they are saying, how they are saying it, or what they are doing that is causing frustration? Being aware of your triggers is key.
Next, communicate your expectations to others. Rather than holding your frustration in and letting it build to the point where it can lead to destructive conflict and damage the relationship, communicate assertively.
Let’s say for example that one of your triggers or hot buttons is when you’re talking to someone and they continue to check their email or look at their phone. You have a few choices when it comes to communicating how you’re feeling:
1. Aggressive communication – “YOU’RE not listening to me!”
2. Passive-aggressive communication – Ignore it or say, “It’s fine” (When it’s really not fine)
3. Assertive communication – “Would you prefer we talk at a different time? It’s hard for me to concentrate while you’re on your phone.” Or “When you look at your phone when we’re talking, I don’t feel like I have your full attention”.
Most of the time when people fail to meet your expectations, it’s because they don’t know what they are. While it’s sometimes uncomfortable to communicate assertively, it is much more effective and leads to better relationships.
You might also consider asking people close to you what their hot buttons are. You might be pushing them without even know it!
What are your hot buttons?