Why Having Difficult Conversations Is Worth It
Go on any forum right now. Ask people which sentences they least like to hear in conversation. You will probably find famous among the first ten examples, “We need to talk.” Whether you hear this sentence at home or in the office, it never fails to give you a knot in your stomach.
You hate that sentence. It shows that a problem needs your attention as soon as possible. You are going to have a difficult conversation.
We fear difficult conversations for various reasons because they are uncomfortable and hurt feelings. They may escalate into arguments. As a result, we hope it will disappear if we avoid the subject altogether.
But whether in personal life or business, these conversations are unavoidable.
Here are some reasons you should embrace having difficult conversations
1. The problem never goes away, no matter how long you ignore it. Suppose you decide to ignore an infected wound on your arm. You can cover it up with a huge band-aid or hide it under clothing. Will that make it go away? No, you will still have a giant wound on your arm.
Eventually, you’ll deal with it. Having difficult conversations is similar. It makes you anxious and uncomfortable, but the problem does not go away when you ignore it. It goes away when you deal with it.
2. You get to understand the other person’s point of view. We believe that whatever side we are on in a disagreement is right. Willingness to have a challenging conversation shows that you can open your mind to a different viewpoint than you may be used to.
You approach the conversation with the right attitude and listen to and validate the person you talk to. You come out of the encounter knowing more than you did when you went in. It helps you expand your worldview or make necessary improvements.
3. You accept responsibility for your part in causing the problem. No problem is one-sided. When you are open to difficult conversations, you accept that you played a part in causing the issue.
The person you have the conversation with, your spouse or boss, or whoever can sense your humility and is more likely to be open and honest and accept responsibility for their part in the matter. Therefore, solutions appear faster.
4. You get better at having those conversations. Difficult conversations are unavoidable. If you avoid one at home, you will meet one in the workplace. And you can’t run away all the time. The more difficult conversations you have, the better you get at having them.
Learn how to approach hard conversations. Learn how to diffuse tense situations. Your communication skills will improve. You will also be able to put yourself and the person you’re talking to at ease.
5. It makes us have better relationships. No human relationship is full of laughs all the time, unless, of course, you’re running a comedy club. Always find the best way to put things out there hurting no one’s feelings.
When you do that successfully in personal relationships, you build stronger bonds. Even in complex and awkward situations, you learn to be yourself around your friends and partners.
Resentment festers when problems are in the dark. So talk things out. Dropping hints on its own is ineffective. You have more of an opportunity to solve a problem when you understand it. Difficult conversations make that possible. If you’re hesitating to have a difficult conversation, don’t allow fear to hold you back.
Once you learn to make the most of difficult conversations, you’ll wonder what you were so afraid of. Maintain your composure and talk. It may go your way, or it may not. In the end, though, the result will be worth the trouble.
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