How many of you have heard of the 5 second rule as it pertains to food?

The theory is that if you drop food on the ground, it’s OK to eat as long as you pick it up within five seconds. I won’t ask if you’ve ever eaten something you dropped on the floor, nor will I divulge if I ever did either…wink wink…

But let’s take the basis of the five second rule and adapt it a little…

If we are speaking to someone, should we wait five seconds before we respond? (contestants on game shows are obviously excluded)

I know my daughter has been told when in interviews, take a breath and then respond. Should our everyday conversations be much the same?

First off- how many people start talking before someone else has finished speaking? I’m raising my hand here because I TOTALLY am guilty of that. I don’t even give people the chance to finish because I am so ready to jump in and prove how right that I am…

I know that I need to learn to listen and pause…

But in general, do you think humans would be better off with a pause switch that can be activated during conversations?

Do you pause before you reply?

Does communicating via email/social media/text make it easier to weigh our responses, or do we still type out quickly and without thinking?

What do you think about taking a beat before you speak?

85 thoughts on “5 seconds

  1. 5 seconds may not be long enough in some cases. I have been guilty of any and all the things mentioned in this post, although have made great strides in the conversation arena

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  2. I love this idea, I’m definitely going to give this a go….also need to stop thinking of my response whilst people are still talking 🫣

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  3. I find most people began a casual exchange by helm and haw and burying the lede of “their” story, which leads to other’s impatience and the recipients subsequent jumping in. Conversation is both art and skill with a sequential sense of timing. And most don’t take the time to learn or care about how a verbal exchange can be made more telling, fun, informative, and insightful because, after all it is…only words. Their words for sure…but still…only words. Ya know what I mean. Don’t ya.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have some close friends who I have marvelous conversation with, but I can’t do that with everyone. Certain people just fit. But yes…there is a skill to being a good conversationalist and I am sorely lacking. I give good email though…

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  4. Guilty here of speaking too soon! It’s something I am consciously trying to work on. I think we could all use at least 5 seconds to weigh what’s about to come out of our mouths. Perhaps that actually IS one advantage to social media. Especially since you can reread what you said and either edit it or delete it. Can’t do that once something comes of our mouth!

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  5. As you said (indirectly), pausing before you speak, and replying appropriately, shows the person speaking that you were listening to them and not just thinking ahead to what it is that YOU wanted to say. I think that we are all guilty of this at one point or another.

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  6. I’m trying to learn this, because I notice that I tend to speak too quickly.
    I have a friend that, without fail, waits for a few seconds before speaking. Also, she never finishes a statement for anyone, no matter what.
    It blows my mind!!!🤯😅😅
    I wish I could learn that.

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  7. I love these responses. It seems we are all guilty of this now and then (and even more). The bigger question is WHY do we do it so often? Are we that insecure we’re afraid no one will hear us? That if we don’t react instantly (or even faster) the other person will think we’re not interested and not like us anymore? Great pondering this morning!

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  8. I am guilty of speaking too soon, putting my foot in my mouth and otherwise getting so excited someone is talking to me as to cut them off and miss the point. I do better in business situations, I breath before replying. As for email, I have a 24 hr folder for emails that if responded to immediately will result in a nasty reply.

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  9. I am generally pretty good at that, but someone I am close to frequently cuts me and others off mid-sentence and doesn’t allow any pauses before expecting a response. Very rude and you can tell who is most important to that person. If I am passionate about a topic, however, I am less likely to pause. I do like email because I can more carefully construct text to say what I mean and hopefully not be misinterpreted. The downside to written communication, as witnessed during masking, is the inability to get and give feedback through expression and body language. The 3 or 5 second rule is easier when applied to food.😉

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  10. Yes! A pause gives us the gift of grace. Too often, we respond in knee-jerk fashion to what we perceive to be a slight or criticism. Or we are eager to show how smart or witty we are. A pause allows us to assess the situation, offer the benefit of the doubt, and think about who we want to be in that moment, and how we can make the interaction positive. A pause also allows us to decide we don’t need to respond at all.

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  11. I’m totally guilty of speaking too quickly as well. It was embarrassing when I was younger because I came off as hyper. It’s something I’ve worked on over the years, and I am better now.

    As far as the five second rule pertaining to food—forget it. We have five Border Collies. 🤣 Have a wonderful day!

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  12. I feel like in a conversation, five seconds is an eternity. I’d think the person didn’t hear me or had nodded off with their eyes open, ha.

    As for the actual five-second rule as it relates to food, mine is more like 20 seconds and Tara’s is zero. It’s a wonder we’ve lasted as long as we have.

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  13. In our culture it is said that once the words are out of your mouth can never return. One cheesy filmy dialogue is once a bullet and words are out they can never be retrieved. So better think twice before making a comment. However, I have often been ‘suicidal’ with my remarks. Learning to weigh my words at the fag end of my life.

    Interesting and amusing post.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t have a problem with waiting to speak. Hardly anyone ever notices when I start talking, so often I don’t try. My voice is soft, and I have a Southern drawl. Writing is another story. I rarely dash off a rant, because writing makes you think before the fingers move. It’s marvelous to have that filter. Sometimes the words are distilled, refined, and forceful. I’d rather write than talk.

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  15. I think a 5 second pause would be a great thing, save a lot of embarrassing moments! I am like you, I will jump in before my husband is finished speaking, drives him crazy! I don’t do it intentionally it just comes out, I figure I will save him some words. LOL! But I am not always right in thinking that I know what he is going to say.
    It is surprising how if you give yourself just 5 or 10 seconds when angry it can save you from spouting off.
    Alot of times my fingers type faster than my brain and that makes the typos! Or I ask things and as soon as I push send its like Duh! What was I thinking, I know the answer.

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  16. What a great idea! A friend put a 2 minute delay between the time he hits send and the time the email actually leaves his mailbox. He told me that that 2 minutes buffer saved him a lot of times: after the satisfaction of banging “send”, second thoughts about haunt him, and he has time to fix it. If only we had the same “aids” computing offer us irl…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Man, I could have used the 5 second rule recently when I pulled a “Karen” on my jacked up neighbor! Who has been running a chainsaw in our very populated neighborhood on a regular basis recently! Nope! Totally and finally lost my mind and even if someone would have suggested, wait 5 and take a deep breath… they might have gotten the entire ugly me. The guy didn’t even think he was doing anything wrong…😳🙄 I wasted my breath, looked like a fool and used some pretty unprofessional language. Not one of my better moments. But, hey… maybe I should just start of a chainsaw instead of opening my mouth to someone who clearly has no respect for others who like a peaceful neighborhood. Hummmm…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m sure it’s been said, but in general, I think we only listen to maybe half of what another person is saying in any given conversation. After that, we’re formulating what we want to say in response, jumping in as soon as they take a breath. I try to take that mental five seconds while they’re speaking so I really hear them and all they have to say, then another beat before I begin talking. Love this post so much – great conversation (pardon the pun) starter!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Though I raised my hand too about talking over someone, I do believe that pausing before speaking is a practice everyone should take up. It’s an empowering space to consider our words before we speak. It’s the difference between reacting and responding.

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  20. I am guilty of sometimes interrupting, but there are times when I can shut down completely so that I don’t hurt someone else’s feelings instead of making a caustic reply. Neither is great, but I’m working on them…it only really happens with the kid at this time because we’re at odds since he’s not working nor contributing to the family (as in doing chores and bare minimum in the house).

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  21. I wish social media/text/email offered opportunities to pause before responding but, sadly, I think it may be the opposite. These venues have created keyboard cowards who are quick to “shoot off their mouths” before contemplating the consequences. It is beneficial to write out something and then let it sit for a while before sending. So, yes, I believe there should be a pause button mechanism for both mouths and fingers! 😉

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  22. I wish I had a pause button. Sometimes I can do it, but I am often guilty of interrupting. Mainly because if I don’t, I’ll forget what I want to say. Lol The joys of being in the Medicare status. And everyone else my age seems to have the same affliction. So we all do it. I can tell you that It makes for some spirited and noisy lunches with friends. Lol

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  23. One of my favourite things is to Practice the Pause.

    Whether I’d eat something which has fallen on the floor depends on whose floor it is and how recently it’s been cleaned. When she was young, my daughter asked for indoor shoes to be brought to a sleepover as the kitchen floor was crunchy :O

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  24. I’m pretty guilty of all those “bad (communication/commenting) habits”. I know it’s been generally beneficial for me to take a beat before speaking/writing, and I’m trying to be more conscientious in doing that. It’s a hard habit to break!

    Liked by 1 person

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