Uncomfortable Conversations

Having a much needed conversation is crucial, no matter what the outcome. You will never be able to have a successful relationship of ANY kind without equally successful, understanding, and open conversation. The problem isn’t always the content of the conversation that makes another person uncomfortable, the main problem is we don’t know how to effectively communicate with one another.

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” Yehuda Berg

Some people assume communication is automatic, but it isn’t. People do their best to avoid “uncomfortable conversations”.  If someone is doing something or has done something that offended you, why wouldn’t you mention it? Most people don’t intentionally try to offend you, that’s just the way they are and no one has ever said anything about it, so they don’t find any wrong in it. It’s harmless on their end and until you speak up it will continue. If you fail to have that conversation as time goes on, you’ll end up resenting someone for something they don’t even know about.  People are not mind readers, THAT ISN’T FAIR.  It doesn’t have to be confrontational. Uncomfortable conversations are an important part of your personal growth and development. Like pain, they’re just a part of life. We have to learn to embrace them, and trust we will be able to handle what comes next. You have to be able to communicate honestly when it matters. Even if it’s painful to one or both parties concerned. If you leave out details to spare the other persons feelings it will be more painful in the long run, either to yourself or to the other person.

“It is not a hard conversation, unless the relationship matters” -Iyanla Vanzact

To understand another person, you need to listen to them. Listen with intent to understand. I mean seeking first to understand, to really understand. Just because you understand somebody doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they are saying. We all just want to be understood.  Make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent. Try to understand the other person’s story well enough to see how their conclusion makes sense. We need to articulate our conclusions in such a way that the other sees how we make sense.  We are not always going to agree with each other, but that’s okay. It is okay to agree, to disagree and MOVE ON. You just have to be willing to listen.  I once read “people don’t care about what you know, until they know you care”. This can apply to understanding someone in the face of a difficult conversation. If you show someone you care about what they’re talking about then you have a better chance with getting to know why they feel the way they do and they’ll be willing and open to doing the same thing when you speak.

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”

We need to communicate in real life, and not use social media as a platform to get a message to someone. These days, people will address an issue they have with you on social media before they actually pick up the phone and call you about the issue. Or make subliminal posts. That’s cowardly. If you need to have a conversation with someone, do just that. It’s nothing worse than finding out someone has a problem with you, from somebody else, other than the person with the actual problem. Have a private conversation.  NOT A TEXT THREAD. A real life, face to face, sit down conversation with the person you need to talk to. I once had a friend who wasn’t even my friend anymore and I was the last person to know. Imagine that. It left me in a state of confusion. I still do not know the extent of her hurt. I am not a mind reader nor will I ever attempt to be. From that, I know the friendship on the other end wasn’t worthy of a conversation. You can’t force people to talk to you.

“People, who can walk away from you, without the decency to at least have a conversation before, are simply not for you.”

When is “the right time” to have an uncomfortable conversation?  As soon as possible! People love to say “it wasn’t the right time to say that”. It’ll never be the “right time”. There is no better time than now. Maybe 9am would be a better time than 9pm? It makes no difference. Honestly.  If you thought about something that needs to be said to someone as you were reading this, I think now would be the appropriate time to have that “uncomfortable conversation”. People don’t know how you feel unless you tell them.  You have to remember “it’s not always what you say; it’s how you say it.” Don’t stop talking and don’t stop listening. Communication is a skill!  It simply involves two things – transmission and reception. A good communicator takes full responsibility for both of these things. Good communication skills are no longer a nice-to-have:  they’re a must-have. Let’s stop avoiding conversations and have genuine dialogue with people. Let’s  get comfortable with “uncomfortable conversations”, while making it a social norm. The least we all could do is be fair. Give an honest effort to every relationship in our lives and have those conversations as they arise.


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