I love that little Undo button available in various programs. It is the most forgiving feature! Thanks to that little twirly arrow, it no longer matters that you accidentally copied your entire distribution list into the subject line of your email. All you have to do is click the button, and voila! The mistake is gone, and the world rests once again on its axis.
Sometimes I wish I could click a button like then when I’m relating to people. Recently a co-worker came by to tell me something he was really excited about. I faced a huge deadline in that moment and didn’t give him my full attention and excitement. He walked away a little mopey because normally I’m that girl people tell cool stuff to because when they tell me, I feel as excited as they feel. . . But not that day. It was a lose-lose moment for me and him: I lost out on hearing his exciting story, and he lost the chance to share his thrill.
Within a couple minutes I realized what I did, and quickly IM’d him. “I’m so sorry I missed you in that moment!” I said. “Please give me a Redo!” – In other words, I invited him to redo a conversation over again. I often request a Redo when my best self isn’t available—either because I’m tired or stressed or preoccupied—but want another chance to bring that best self back into a conversation. When I “miss” someone, I miss the chance to really connect and understand someone. For me, that’s a huge loss. The good news is, I can repair that loss, and show someone I’m aware of my mistake. Sure enough, he told me his story and I got to share his excitement.
I’ve never had anyone refuse a Redo invitation. It’s way too juicy to resist, and I’ll argue, even more satisfying than an “I’m sorry.” Some who are not familiar with me—or uncomfortable with this concept—might argue it seems insincere. I think it’s the opposite. I believe it accomplishes three really important things: 1) It shows my awareness that I didn’t bring my “best game” and want the chance to make amends. 2) It shows that I value our relationship enough to put myself on the line. 3) It gives people permission to be human i.e. if she can do that, well I can too. No matter how hard I try to do my best, I will at times, make relational mistakes. The good news is this doesn’t have to be catastrophic. By clicking that human “Undo” button, I can turn a lose-lose into a win-win.