There’s one thing I’m learning about people as time goes along: that they behave differently when they’re tired.

When they’re tired people are short-tempered and irritable, and they say strange things that they most likely don’t mean. They give looks, they roll their eyes, they purse their lips or slump their shoulders in consternation.They ‘tsk-tsk-tsk’ to show disappointment, and they feel completely justified in offering criticisms where none are due. And just in case their words misfire, or if they somehow miraculously find the restraint to not say anything at all, their body language leaves their intentions and their inferences very clear indeed.

Fatigue destroys patience, concern, and intelligence. It is second only to alcohol or booze, in my humble opinion, in the way it interferes with the capacity to reason, and with the ability or desire to empathize. In its worst form it can even affect the ability to exercise reasonable decorum.

What causes it? Well, lots of things. Being up later than usual, or having a long and stressful day. Being outside for too long in the wind and rain, or the hot weather. Being sick, or tired, or both, or being under serious stresses such as those brought on by health, finance, or employment concerns.

The bottom line is that tired people say things they would not ordinarily say, and this can hurt people they wouldn’t ordinarily wish to hurt. They don’t mean to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t matter. Once something is said it’s impossible to take back, and all the sorrys in the world aren’t going to make its effects go away.

I think – and I am young so I may be completely out to lunch here – that the best way to avoid this kind of thing must be to consider what you’re going to say before you say it; it seems to me that this one exercise alone would reduce the number of foot-in-mouth-toes-wiggling events that happen on a daily basis in the world by a very significant factor.

But I don’t have a say, do I? In the first place, I’m a puppy, not a human, so it’s not up to me to figure out what is best for people. Secondly, I’m very small – people only notice me now because I’m young and cute – and let’s face it, in time they won’t pay any attention to me at all.

So what’s the answer? I would say that if you’re tired think very carefully about what you plan to say before you say it, and if you do happen to say something wrong or hurtful be sure to apologize right away – it doesn’t matter if your apology is accepted – even if it’s not it’s important for you to clear it from your system. And if all that doesn’t work – do what I do:


Take a nap.



About James McDonall

I believe in laughing, especially at yourself, and as often possible. I believe in "live and let live". I believe that communication is the foundation of all our solutions. I believe that listening is more important than speaking, and that speaking should serve the cause of listening. If you like my writing, I'm available for hire. Please send me an Email to discuss your project. View all posts by James McDonall

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