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How To Overcome The Timing Bias For Better Relationships

Updated: 3 days ago

The Timing Bias


Ms. Tamara Moskal's Synopsis

One of the worst biases hindering understanding between people is poor communication timing. Today's virtual and fast-paced world is impatient and chooses instant gratification instead of practicing a more relaxed communication style through delayed, better-timed responses.
Overcoming the timing bias on the individual level is relatively easy. The key lies in finding the right time to react when calm and clear-headed. Practicing such patience can reduce stress and alter relationships. While we can't control the world around us, we can respond better and create a more peaceful exchange of words, leading to a more relaxed life.
We have greater control over our lives than we realize. It's essential to manage tasks effectively, prioritizing and avoiding multitasking. Take time to recover from intensive events to face new challenges calmly, make sounder decisions, think clearer, and minimize stress for ourselves and others. A calmer mind should be part of our ideal selves in the stressful world.

Arguably, much of our problems with other people can be solved by identifying and overcoming biases in both them and in ourselves. Biases are "great" at hindering our understanding of other people, thus unnecessarily derailing our relationships with them. As such, philosophy is highly practical because much of it has to do with how to understand others, reality and ourselves. Improving our understanding of reality can therefore improve our relationships with people, by minimizing unnecessary miscommunications.

In contemporary times, one of the worst biases has to do with timing. That is because our virtual and fast-paced world has compromised a very important function in behavior that has to do with a more relaxed mentality: patience. When we lack patience, we may act far more on the need for instant gratification, therefore picking poor timings for replying, far more frequently. Allow me to give an example in order to explain in greater detail:

Imagine you had a very bad day at work and your partner complains about a minor thing. Be surprised but the connection between work and his/her complaint is more obvious than you might think: It is yourself.

It isn't to say that your day at work necessarily had to do with them complaining. It's just that your day at work influenced your energy levels, your irritability and your overall mood. This can make it harder for you to contain your partner's complaint. Perhaps if you had a more-pleasant day at work, you might've not overreact to his/her input, and you might've not, let's say, got into a heated argument as a result.

Timing teaches us the fact that nothing exists in a vacuum, and that one event can affect the other even by proxy. The "proxy" of event "A", influencing the outcomes of event "B", can be ourselves, transitioning between the two events.

Morally, making sure your employees don't suffer unnecessarily, can lead to a better mental wellbeing, preventing them from causing that same kind of suffering to others around them. On the macro level, developing a more "proxy understanding" of reality can improve our understanding of how events and people influence each other. However, unfortunately, it is not very realistic to expect from anyone to have this degree of understanding. That is, even though it can lead to a far better society, with far greater empathy and compassion for other living beings.

On the micro level, AKA the individual level, overcoming timing bias is quite easy:

  • Delay your gratification. Don't answer quickly to people if it's not the ideal time for you to do it.

  • Try to reply to people when you are more clear-headed, and less stressed.

  • Try to develop a greater sense of patience. If the other side isn't patient, encourage them to be patient. Explaining to them that, right now isn't the best time for talking, could be a great help to your overall relationship.

"The best time" should be taken not so strictly. It is necessarily a better time to reply to people. A literal "best time" for replying isn't always realistic, given that you might want to talk to them either way. Instead, always strive for a more relaxed time to do so.

The world is in dire need of relaxation. A lack of patience is not how stress is reduced, but increased. That is the paradox of instant gratification: You might feel compelled to be gratified, only to realize you should've picked a better timing for your actions.

While we cannot control the world around us, our greatest power lies in our ability to make better actions, by examining the competence of actions we regularly perform. If we want to create a more peaceful life, and conduct peaceful exchange of words with others, we mustn't underestimate the importance of whatever it takes to reach such a life.

To overcome the problematic nature of timing bias, the same applies:

All of these questions, upon regular contemplation, can serve as the key for a less stressful life and an easier time with other people. Reduction of any reducible difficulty can prevent much social agony and social fatigue upon any interaction we might have with others, thus promoting in action a more harmonious and serene communication.

Ideally, we should approach others when we are the most relaxed. Interactions with people shouldn't be as painful as they currently might be for some of us, when the associated pain can be dealt with in the first place. We often forget that we don't have to respond to anything as quickly as some of us may do, and that nothing bad would necessarily occur if we took life more calmly.

Patience, therefore, is a great asset in maintaining good and harmonious relationships with others. Remember this well: Everything and everyone has its time and place. Try dealing with issues one at a time, instead of multitasking. Try to distinguish between urgent issues and issues that can be delayed without much consequence. Focus on the issues that are more immediate, than solve your way down to the last issue. A more-effective time-management, one that prioritizes our need for peace, can go a long way for a better life and better conduct with this information-intensive reality.

Do not let yourself be a "pawn" of events that do not have to do with unrelated situations. Try to recover and rest from intensive events, so you'll be able to manage the next events with far greater grace and balance.

The key to a calmer life, one that is necessary for our physical and mental health, rests on our shoulders. All that it takes, initially, for that state of being to be reached, is to be aware of the fact that we can reach a healthier future. Then, we must identify the actions necessary for that end. And of course, we should perform these actions.

Many arguments and unnecessary conflicts can be avoided, if we would only be aware of the importance of timing, and of the notion that we can actually influence that timing, with our words and behavior. How come? We can understand that not all timing is forced upon us, and that we have far greater control of it, than we might think.

Never underestimate the value of a calmer you. A calmer you can:

  • Make better decisions.

  • Think more clearly.

  • Not spread the same stress you have, to other people.

  • Not have other people, stress you in turn.

As such, in this terribly-stressful world, a calmer self can and should be part of our ideal selves. Successfully have a chilling effect on others, and by the golden rule, they can return the same effect towards you, thus promoting this healthy trend of cool-headedness.

Mr. Nathan Lasher's Feedback

Encouraging others to be patient is something I believe must be handled delicately. People are often biased about timing bias. They only want to do stuff in their own time and if it isn’t it is very inconvenient for them. Next time someone is angry about something, tell them to be patient and see what happens. Examples of timing bias and emotions dictating their interactions [can be found anywhere].
There is a way around timing. If you need to talk to someone, pretend the conversation by saying “Hey I want to talk about……... .When would be a good time to do so?” It gets rid of timing bias and will prepare them for the conversation you are about to have. Plan a specific time to talk about it so you can both be mentally prepared.

Timing is a two edged sword. Too early and you deal with timing bias problems. Too late and you have the opposite problem of them not thinking you care. You might delay your response, but don’t forget the importance of at least acknowledging them. “Hey I am busy right now but I will reply to you later."
You can also prepare people to avoid the timing bias. Doing what I said earlier and planning a time to talk about something or taking a moment to put them in the right state of mind for what you are about to say.
People close to you are easy enough to fix the timing bias. Plan a specific time each day for you and someone else to get things off your mind. Be respectful and listen as you will have the same opportunity after they are done. What if everyone in the world took a siesta of sorts and used the time to unwind so they wouldn’t be impacted by other people?
I believe this article talks on the importance of being mentally strong. That way stuff that happens to you throughout your day is less likely to impact you. When you are more mentally strong you are less affected by timing bias.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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