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Read Between the Whines

Updated on October 6, 2013

Read Between The What?

Read between the whines! Yes…you read that right. I am sure you have heard the expression “Read between the lines”…well this is similar. The difference is we will be doing more than just analyzing the words being used in order to figure out the message being conveyed. We will also be using the tone of voice in which the statement was said. This will give us a much clearer understanding of not only the issue at hand but also the way it has personally affected the individual making the statement. This in turn will give us a chance to respond back to the individual without responding to the emotion as much as the issue.

Could you repeat that?

Think past what you think you hear…
Think past what you think you hear…

Are You Kidding Me?

Think back to times when someone has made a statement and you went from 0 to 60 in one second…well for fun let’s say 0 to 100…this way we understand we are talking about something past “the limit”. I am going to write in all capitals for this next part. “WHAT’S THE MATTER? YOUR LEGS BROKEN? CAN’T TAKE OUT THE TRASH?” or “EVERYTIME I ASK YOU TO DO SOMETHING IT TAKES MONTHS!” or “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU CAN’T PICK UP THE PHONE TO LET ME KNOW WHERE YOU ARE!” Are you kidding me? Who does this person think they are to yell at me like this! Do they think the world revolves around them…I have things I have to do too!

The statements made after the “all capital letter” or emotional statements are rebound statements. They are made because we took the statement personally. Human nature dictates we have many emotions…that is a given. Some days we will be more resilient to these statements than others. Perhaps these statements have built up in relationships and finally have become rebound statement triggers. Whatever the case it is never too late to learn better ways.

Has it happened to you?

Have you ever been misunderstood based on the emotion you put into a statement?

See results

Whine! Whine! Whine!

Before anyone makes a statement like nails on a chalk board…stop and think. As soon as you feel your blood start to boil, or feel as if your character is being attacked…stop and think about not making this issue bigger. By this I mean once you make a rebound statement you have disregarded the issue of this individual. Let me repeat that…”You have disregarded their issue.” You have just made it bigger because now you are part of the problem.

For the most part if someone is upset and makes a very emotional statement there is one of two things they want. One…someone just to listen so they can “get it out”…or two…someone to help them solve their problem. Seeing as the statement was made to you….TAG YOUR IT!

The first step of breaking down an emotional statement? Take out the emotion. Huh? Yes…take out the emotion. Understand in real life situations you will need to do this quickly. Try and run a few scenarios in your head after you understand the breakdown to better be prepared for the next time something like this occurs! By taking out the emotion it takes out the trigger.

Just remember no one is perfect. If you use a rebound response it is perfectly fine to apologize and let the individual know that you took the statement personal for a minute and that you don’t think you heard them right and could they repeat it again. It is imperative to keep your cool at this point so they know you really do care about what they have to say.

So Many Choices...

It is not as difficult as you may think.
It is not as difficult as you may think.


  • Take out emotion (whines)
  • Erase negative remarks
  • Disregard always, constantly and never
  • Find the root issue
  • Reapply emotion as a gauge
  • Respond appropriately

I Before E Except After C

Break it on down! Play back the statement in your head as if it was written on paper. Paper has no emotion. You can “read” it anyway you want. “Erase” any words that may be cursing at you. Any words such as always, constantly or never…because quite honestly very few people are always, constantly or never doing something. “Them’s fightin’ words!” Usually slipped in to evoke emotion out of you in an attempt to get you riled up as well.

Once you are down to the simplest form of the statement you can begin to understand what this individual is upset about. So in the statement ““WHAT’S THE MATTER? YOUR LEGS BROKEN? CAN’T TAKE OUT THE TRASH?” we boil it down to “Take out the trash.” Are you thinking what I am thinking? Why did that get them so upset? A HA! Good question. Maybe you always wait to be asked to take out the trash. If that is the case what has changed this time to create such an emotional outburst?

Now we have taken out the emotion and anything that might trigger a rebound response to get to the simplest statement.

Answer Key

Emotions just do not have an easy answer on how to read them. There are too many variables. Since this is not brain surgery close enough works pretty well!

We have taken out the emotion. We have erased any trigger words and boiled the statement down to simplest form. Now it is time to put the emotion back in! Say what? Yes…emotion back in. The emotion is actually more to gauge the severity of the issue. Is it small, medium or large? If the emotion seems to fit the issue…tackle the issue and resolve it! If not is it a little off or a lot? If it is a little off…perhaps the individual is having a bad day, having a headache or something stressful upsetting them creating a mountain out of a mole hill.

Mole hill! If this is the case…resolve the basic issue…and then get to the underlying issue. A lot of times this type issue is stress related and when some simple stressors are removed life will start to sail smoother.

Mountain! You can’t climb a mountain without breaking a sweat! Emotional gauge is way off target. Chances are it has nothing to do with trash at all! The over reaction is very likely due to build-up of buried problems. As before handle the smaller issue…by taking out the trash! Don’t ignore the hidden face slap…it is reality telling you someone needs help. You can’t just ask if something is wrong…you already know that answer. Ask pointed questions such as “Did something happen at work today?”, “Did I forget to do something else?”, or “I feel like something else is bothering you and I want to talk about it.” This last statement is important. It brings up that you “feel”…that you have taken the time to understand this person and sense something is not right. It also does not question this fact and says you want to talk about it. It is not a question…therefore it is harder to say “no I’m fine”. It also takes the “Do you want to bring something up?” out of the equation and places it on you. You want to know because you care…and it implies you are ready and willing to listen…so make sure those ears are screwed on tight! Do not judge…let them talk. Work it out. Never be afraid to apologize, commiserate or even offer to make things right.

Read Between The Whines

Read between the whines. A simple statement breakdown to help resolve issues before they become personal and create a larger one.

Take out the whines…a.k.a. emotions. Then erase any negative remarks and always, constantly or never words. Find the message in the words. Reapply emotion for gauging severity. Then respond appropriately. It can be hard at first especially if rebound responses have become the norm. Keep thinking. Keep breaking down emotional statements. Remember the saying…Practice doesn’t make perfect…perfect practice makes perfect.

Quote To Ponder

“Those who evoke conversational discord when posed with an adverse situation only add havoc to an already volatile conundrum…The wise will invoke constructive conversation to quell the disputatious nature of the situation and premeditatedly infuse peace into the resolution of the mired enigma.”

~Bobbi Jo Davis

July 11, 2012


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    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      Oh dear, oh yes I am sure we have all been there. Perhaps I'll take some cheese with my whine. Up, interesting and useful.


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