"White Space" gives one time to think

Real Estate Agent with Compass CA DRE# 01215160

Because of the Corona virus, my calendar has changed dramatically from the Sunday evening plan I set for the week. Today, Thursday, Friday and the weekend now look entirely different than they did two days ago due to all the canceled events, meetings, concerts, potluck dinners and theater productions, and companies having their employees working from home.

There are some silver linings to having much more "white space" in my calendar. For instance:

  • my commute to the Peninsula yesterday to tour properties and show a property to a prospective buyer (real estate continues to march on) was a breeze! Traffic was almost non-existent, and because of that my round trip was cut almost in half!
  • today, with the cancellation of three back to back meetings and appointments I had an unstructured time block from 9:30 to 3:30.

Some of that extra time was spent on client-facing activities--phone calls, emails, updating a market analysis. Some was spent on personal activities such as checking in with friends and family, planning a dinner or two.

Ceanothus blooming at Ft.Mason Community GardenAnd some time was spent on an activity that often has to wait for weekends -- walking to my garden plot at Fort Mason Community Gardens.

Today's mission: plant some tulips bulbs (I know it's not the season, but something needed to be done with them. I'm hoping nutrients from the foliage will return to the bulbs and a few might have the strength to re-bloom next spring!) and some sugar snap peas. I picked the last daffodil of the season and a number of lemons; herbs I had plenty of at home already.

The garden is a happy place, and the 20-minute walk there and 20-minutes back (uphill!) gives me time to think.


Today I found myself thinking about an on-line article I read a week or so ago.

The author talked about how some people apologize far too often, which makes them appear weak, both to others and to themselves. I wish I could credit the source, but I didn't realize what an impression the words would make.

She suggested replacing "I'm sorry" with "thank you." "Thank you for waiting for me" instead of "I'm sorry I'm late."  Or how about "thank you for understanding why dinner wasn't ready when planned"  And again, "thank you for being kind with me today" instead of "I'm sorry I was snappish today."

People love to be thanked--it makes them feel good. Imagine different scenarios when you are the speaker of the words--how do you feel? Then, turn it around and imagine someone saying each of those phrases to you. Which makes you feel better and more understanding?

I'm going to try to use "thank you" when appropriate instead of "I'm sorry" in the upcoming week. Interesting idea, is it not?


Comments (101)

Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

What makes a post feature-worthy is a mystery to me, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - but fun none the less. Thank you for being such a great cheerleader.

Mar 15, 2020 11:41 AM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

What a sweet and pleasent post thanks for sharing. So refreshing

Mar 15, 2020 01:08 PM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Excellent thoughts, Lottie!  I liked your garden and the quotes at end.  I was wondering what the white space was about by the title and you filled it all quite nicely!  Having a pause to collect our wits about us and see that things are not coming to some kind of crash is a good thing.  Thank you very much.  I did like the 'thank you' instead of 'I'm sorry'.  Something definitely to keep in mind!!


Mar 15, 2020 01:42 PM
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Thank you for sharing this article with us. I must say that nothing has slowed down, folks are out and about at the local restaurants, church's and taking walks. One thing we are seeing is what appears to be family spending I am sure of this much needed time together. Using the word thank you is nice to hear. Thank you for spending time writing this article 

Mar 15, 2020 02:28 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Lottie, I had more free time than usual this weekend.  I think everyone is out shopping for TP, milk, potatoes, eggs, etc.  and not seeking homes.
The governor just closed all restaurants and bars starting at 9 p.m. tonight.  Takeout or delivery only.  Schools are closed for 3 weeks, businesses are going work from home where possible.  Bill

Mar 15, 2020 03:13 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Yes, we need white space in our writing - and white space in our lives as well.

There's a name for that compulsion to say "I'm sorry" all the time, but I don't remember what it is.

I knew a young boy once who said it constantly - as in, every other sentence. He didn't much mean it, but no matter what anyone said he was sorry. Sorry he got caught smoking his Mom's cigarettes out behind the barn (he was 12 at the time). Sorry he forgot to pay for that candy bar. But also, sorry for things that had nothing to do with him. It was strange.

I ran into him again when he was in his 20's - and he was still sorry.

Mar 15, 2020 03:48 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Lottie:

There are lots of take-a-ways here but I think the best is saying Thank You, in an many ways as possible!

No doubt we are all experiencing lots of change in our lives and those we know.


Mar 15, 2020 09:57 PM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Absolutely a great idea!!! Thanks for sharing!

"Thank you for waiting for me" instead of "I'm sorry I'm late."  Or how about "thank you for understanding why dinner wasn't ready when planned"  And again, "thank you for being kind with me today" instead of "I'm sorry I was snappish today."

Mar 16, 2020 04:18 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Lottie Kendall ,

I just love your post! What a great idea to say Thank you instead of I'm sorry! I love it!! We all have more white spaces on our calendars and learning how to take advantage of this time. It's all good.

Mar 16, 2020 06:35 AM
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

Hi Lottie, I love the idea of saying "thank you" instead of "I'm sorry." It would be a hard habit to break, but one I would like to try! :) Thank you!

Mar 16, 2020 07:25 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Lottie I love your post. I have often said I am sorry when it wasn't warranted. Habit for sure. It is great you used your white space for productive things, especially your garden. I remember when you were waiting for that spot. Stay safe.

Mar 16, 2020 08:52 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

I have seen that idea and like the concept behind it. A very good idea, we just have to train ourselves not to react, buot to adjust and use the new phrase. 

Mar 16, 2020 08:57 AM
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Hi Lottie - wonderful post and happy to see it was featured.  I agree with you on all points!  

Mar 16, 2020 10:40 AM
Women Leather Jacket

People love to be thanked and be presented with some gifts and nice words. In fact, a smile can make them feel good.

Mar 17, 2020 03:42 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Lucky to live in a small rural area where the communities look after the aged, where the kids are the jewels to shape for the real world. We all come up to speed quickly and adapt the longer you have been listing and selling real estate. Great post sentiments to share.

Mar 17, 2020 05:47 AM
Cathy Starkweather
La Rosa Realty, LLC. - Celebration, FL

I love the "thank you" versus "I'm sorry." I will definetely implement this into all parts of my life. Wow, I never considered this and so simple! Thank you for sharing this! 

Mar 17, 2020 09:18 AM
Peter Mohylsky. Broker Associate
Miramar Beach - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Great twist of terms to present a different way of looking at things.  Best of luck with the tulips.

Mar 18, 2020 12:28 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you for that suggestion!  White outs in our calendars are growing for sure.  I appreciate your post and, thanks to Kathy, I got to read it! 

Mar 23, 2020 02:28 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Lottie,

Great sentiment. This is why I love snow days. White space to let you think while you shovel it all aside. Did not get much of that this year.

Apr 11, 2020 08:17 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Dörte Engel - most of us have a lot of "white space" today, as we wrap up Week 4 of Shelter-in-Place. Zoom meetings are beginning to take up too much time, but I do have time to do my online Continuing Education classes needed for my license renewal this October. 

Apr 11, 2020 03:04 PM