Many people fear difficult conversations. They are afraid that confronting issues with another person will lead to conflict and may cause long-term damage to their relationship.
But it doesn’t need to be this way,
With the right mindset, you can reduce the anxiety behind having these conversations. You can also use these conversations to gain insight into yourself and your relationships.
So today, let’s examine why you should stop avoiding difficult conversations and, instead, embrace them for what they are, opportunities to improve your EQ.
Why Do We Avoid Difficult Conversations?
What happens when someone says, “We need to talk”?
Does your blood pressure rise and stomach pretzel itself into a knot?
Whether you hear this sentence at home or in the office, if you’re not prepared, it can send your thoughts down a dark hole.
You might fear that the conversation may become uncomfortable and lead to hurt feelings. It could be that you’re afraid that it might escalate into an argument and the relationship struggles a disagreement can bring.
As a result, you, like many people, try to avoid them.
But if you approach these conversations with a different mindset, it’s possible to turn these situations into productive events.
Reasons you should embrace difficult conversations:
1. The problem remains.
Let’s say you cut your arm and it became infected. What would happen if you just covered it with a huge band-aid or hid it under your shirt sleeve?
Even worse, what would happen if you ignored the wound?
Will that wound just disappear?
No, you will still have a giant wound on your arm.
Eventually, you’ll have to deal with the infection or you’ll lose your arm, and perhaps your life.
Having difficult conversations is similar. Unless you deal with the problem, it never goes away, no matter how long you ignore it.
It will continue to fester, making you feel anxious and uncomfortable. Ignoring it might even cause the loss of your relationship.
The only way that situation is ever going to be handled is if you deal with it.
2. It allows you to see the other person’s perspective.
Once we choose a side in a disagreement, we believe that the side we’ve chosen is the right. one
But if you keep rationalizing that you’re right and refuse to listen to what the other person has to say, you’ll harm your relationship.
Even if you’re right, the situation you’re not facing will continue to cause you problems.
This is the reason it’s so important to try to see the issue from the other person’s point of view. Listening openly to what they are saying can help you understand their point of view.
This is the only way you’ll be able to resolve the problem.
But you can’t do this unless you’re willing to have the conversation.
Your openness to having a challenging conversation allows you to engage with a different viewpoint. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes allows you to challenge your own assumptions while developing your EQ.
By approaching the conversation with the right attitude and then listening to and validating the person you’re talking with, you build a bridge.
This can help you expand your worldview and/or make any needed adjustments.
3. You accept your responsibility for the problem.
While it might be hard to acknowledge, if you have a conflict, you had something to do with it.
No problem is one-sided.
Giving yourself permission to take part in a difficult conversation allows you to accept that you also played a role in causing the issue.
Whether it’s your spouse, your boss, or your kids, simply being available for an open and honest conversation demonstrates accountability and humility. Modeling this behavior allows them to be open and take responsibility for their part too.
Now you can both work toward finding a solution that will satisfy you both.
4. You become more skilled.
How do you get better at anything?
By repeatedly practicing the basics.
The thing about conflict is you can’t avoid it. This is why difficult conversations are an essential part of being mature human.
Stop trying to avoid them.
While avoiding them might work occasionally, you simply can’t run away from difficult conversations forever. It’s simply better to confront them as they appear.
What you’ll find is, just like any other skill, the more difficult conversations you have, the better you’ll be at them.
As you run into these situations, learn from them. Over time your communication skills will improve.
5. It creates better relationships.
Since you’re human you’re going to have conflicts with other human beings.
Conflicts happen all the time.
It could be something as trivial as what show to watch on TV. It might be as important as what college your child should attend or what house to buy.
Small or large, when there are other people involved there are going to be disagreements.
But learning how to bridge disagreements makes you a more successful human being. By learning how to put things out there without hurting anyone’s feelings, you are successfully building stronger bonds.
This allows you to be yourself, even in complex and awkward situations, around friends and partners.
Start having those difficult conversations!
What happens when you think somebody isn’t telling you everything?
Your mind starts making up all kinds of stuff about their intentions, right?
Resentment festers when problems are in the dark.
Instead of avoiding difficult conversations, make a point to talk things out. And keep in mind that dropping hints is ineffective.
You can’t solve a problem unless you understand it. Having difficult conversations makes that possible.
Don’t let that fear of what might happen in that conversation hold you back. Maintain your composure and talk. It may go your way, or it may not but in the end, you’ll create relationships that are open, honest, and long-lasting.
What more could you want?