Difficult Conversations. Can we not have them? Can we just ignore them and let the consequences implode on our face in maybe say twenty years? Or should we continue to be passive-aggressive until we fall in love with each other? Anyway, here’s the real question: who’s your favorite Kardashian?
We loath difficult conversations. Getting through them is a pain in the ass. But then equally painful is not getting through them. They are the ass cactus of communication. In the end, the conversation becomes a despairing attempt to get it over with rather than an effort to understand what’s making it difficult. What’s makes these conversations hard is not what’s said or how it’s said. It’s that what needs to be said, goes unsaid, over and over.
Our plans going into these conversations get crushed under a stampede of emotions. The proverbial elephant that is repressed anger does all the talking. And the result is an unpleasant exchange that ends with a phony reconciliation just so you can finally get the shitshow over with. But this isn’t even the worst of outcomes.
That is a conversation where everyone pretends nothing’s wrong.
None of this is new. This is the modus operandi of most relationships. I literally just wrote down the job description of an HR. But this is important now because the aftereffects of our inability to have difficult conversations have brought us to some dark places. From sex hounds to racist rants, the more we discover the more hopeless we feel for humanity.
How long before Batman falls?
“I swear I thought he was the Batman because you know – I saw him on The voice – which is why I invited him over but it’s only now – three years later – as I am wondering why I am such a loser do I realize it’s because of him. I can’t forget the the way he disappeared on me.”
You know what’s ironic? We don’t have difficult conversations because the immediate repercussions scare us. The secret to a happy marriage nonetheless. It’s only long after when the repercussion of not having the conversations or pretending to have one comes to smother us we begin to answer the terminal question, what if I could have lived my life differently?
We are in a rush to discover our regrets.
You are never going to regret having a hard conversation. What you will regret is your lack of intention. And the singular intention that makes hard conversations easy is clarity.
Clarity isn’t spite. It isn’t the brutish I-call-a-spade-a-spade-and-I-am-cool-like-that (if that’s the game we are playing, here’s a spade: you are a dick.) Clarity isn’t your opportunity to get back at someone.
Clarity is stating your assumptions. And then to listen. It is the vulnerability to look stupid. And to give the other person the same freedom. It is the beginning of truth. And getting there together. We struggle with this because it looks blunt, impersonal, and rude. But it’s also honest, helpful and your relationship will be better because of it.
I know this sounds self-helpy. But the astonishing thing is, for a change, I am not trying to help myself. That’s not the intent behind difficult conversations. If it were, I’d rather live with my regrets than have the conversation. Clarity is important because it’s the greatest help you can do for the other person. But why help a deluded dipshit, you ask?
Isn’t that the difference between you two?
I want to tell you this idea changed my life…And now I have a wife…It’s no more rife..She grab no knife…
Kanye isn’t a Kardashian? Okay, then it’s Kloe.
To be able to draw boundaries, say no, and accept each other’s differences shouldn’t be a matter of hope. But it has come down to that. The conversations may not get any less difficult. Because that isn’t the point. The intention that is clarity is the respect we give one another.
It’s a start.