“Be brave enough to have a conversation that matters.” – Dau Voire
Communication is the means to exchange information, whether personal, business related, relevant, irrelevant, good news or bad. Somehow and someway we all need to have a conversation with another at some point to simply talk about things. The subject matter usually ties directly to our own emotions and thoughts towards having that talk. The, “I can’t wait to talk to you” conversations are typically easy and will bring someone joy or encouragement. The ones we attempt to avoid, or procrastinate to have are the ones that won’t necessarily place a smile on the face of the recipient. The idea of that talk brings us angst and produces feelings of restlessness, but can be equally life-changing, crucial to all parties involved, and usually essential to living an emotional healthy life.
Although I am not qualified to explain how avoiding a crucial conversation affects us medically, I do know how it makes me feel. It’s as if I begin to live a life of duplicity. There is the man that everyone seemingly knows and interacts with everyday, and then there is that guy smiling to the world but internally struggling with one or several people on some particular issue that he just cannot seem to shake.
Even as we seek and receive good advice from friends or counselors and have great discussions that make us feel better, this is still not an antidote to having that talk yourself. Waiting only produces more angst and makes it harder.
Many times we are waiting for the perfect moment that will probably never arrive. We even convince ourselves it will be better delivered in a certain way and at a specific time. The problem is deep down we realize this is an excuse we use to gain more time, because after all we do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Well have you thought about your own feelings and where they fit in the big scheme of things? While you are trying to protect someone else from being hurt or becoming angry with you, those same emotions begin to negatively impact you, due to lack of release. I believe it is a great characteristic to not take joy in the demise of another or celebrate the pain someone else is experiencing, and the fact that most people who tend to have a difficult time engaging in “that talk” feel this way, are usually the best at delivering the difficult message, simply because of their intent, which is never to hurt anyone.
So whether you have been contemplating on how to engage in a difficult situation at work, having a dialogue with your spouse about something you have been withdrawing from, or speak to your best friend about something that has bothered you for years. There is no better time like now to start the conversation.
What has helped me during these often stressful moments is to comprise the talk with several short conversations. The situation did not develop overnight, so it will not be solved that way either. Do not seek to fix it with one talk, instead take it in small bites and deliver the message with honesty, courage, integrity and compassion.
If necessary write your points on paper and address them specifically, one by one. This tends to be my approach, because its easy for me to lose my train of thought in the heat of the moment due to the potential emotional duress the conversation brings me in the first place.
Of course we are all different. Some folks can deliver a hard conversation like deliberately dropping a microphone on a stage, walking away, without ever looking back. I am not that guy and probably never will be, so my process will look different and perhaps even weak to some, but it is nonetheless my process.
At the end of the day, respect for others, dignity towards the people I claim to care about and living by the golden rule matters more to me. Even with those that deserve less, I still give it, and you should attempt to do the same. Just not at your expense and suffering.
So have that talk, make it plain, make it true and be direct. You will feel much better in the long run, if not immediately. Your honesty can only be respected, even if it takes years for the recipients to fully understand and connect with your words and motivations.