Conversation vs. Confrontation

Let’s talk about having conversations.  You read that right – I didn’t goof and actually mean confrontation, which typically is what I hear most about on my radio program.  It is not a good plan to think of trying to communicate something delicate or important to someone by approaching them through the lenses of battle, which is what confrontation implies.

There are ways to deal with another person on difficult issues that don’t necessarily feel like the throwing down of a gauntlet (an attack against which they have to be defensive).  The moment you get someone’s defenses up, the quicker the whole situation degenerates into a “lose/lose” predicament, usually making things even worse than they were.

If the information is to a loved one, start out with a “Sweetie” or “Honey” or something that sets the tone as one of friendship, love or caring.  Continue with the explanation that it is to improve the situation that you’re coming to them (because you don’t want the relationship hurt by misunderstandings or errors in judgment or word choice).   Then they know that you are not attacking them, but you are trying to preserve the relationship and they will be more open to hearing your point of view.

It’s also important to start out with some verbal “gift,” i.e., that you compliment them with sincerity by suggesting that you understand what their position might be, but that you’re confused, hurt, upset or worried that ________ [fill in the blank].  Remind them what you’ve meant to each other and how you want that to continue, and that this is a glitch which can be remedied with mutual consideration and understanding.

If you’re up against a reasonable, caring individual, things will go well. 

If you’re up against an unreasonable, self-centered human being, things will go well if you walk away.

Rule number “PRE-one:”  Don’t wait for emotions to fester.  Handle things as they happen before you work yourself up to the point that you can’t be reasonable.