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©Arlene R. Taylor, PhD

articles200408A jot can be defined as a “tiny amount” or to “write something quickly.” Conflict can begin with a tiny thing. It can occur because one or both individuals process words or events differently and act on that perception quickly.

Three common behaviors contribute heavily to conflict in all relationships. I have labeled them J-O-T—JOT behaviors—and they represent a low Emotional Quotient or EQ.

These are my definitions:

  • J stands for Jumping to conclusions
  • O stands for Overreacting
  • T stands for Taking things personally

When did you last act out a JOT behavior?

Maybe a friend walks by without a hey—or even a smile. In a nanosecond you jump to the conclusion that this “friend” must be mad at you.

You overreact big time, ruminating how badly you are being treated. Then you take it personal.

A week later the friend calls and asks you to lunch. Still angry, you shout, “Are you kidding?” and disconnect. They call again; you don’t pick up. They text; you block their number. Finished.

Unless your friend has a high EQ—it is, finished. You blew up a bridge—all because of JOT. (Genuine love never dies a natural death, you understand. It can be murdered.)

Weeks later you hear that your friend had just received stressful news. Being preoccupied, it’s likely you were never even noticed. Oops. Better repair the bridge.

Unfortunately, this was not the first time you did a JOT behavior—not by a country mile.  As such, your friend has moved on. There goes a relationship you might have had for a lifetime. In a professional venue, you may have lost a contract, a plum assignment, a valued colleague, or even a job you needed or wanted.

Everyone has done JOTs—even those with high EQ if they become overstressed. Take note: the higher your EQ, the less likely you are to exhibit JOT behaviors—and leave messes in your wake.

What to do? Try A-A-A. See Part 5.