“You Disappoint Me” & Other Nonstarters (DGtC#30)
Don’t Make Everything a Crisis Communication
Regular old talk has a way of lining things up. Steady, routine conversation between spouses, friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues can have a gentle, restorative quality.
Does that sound like an overpromise—especially given the mundane nature of so much of our talk?
It’s true in this way: like keeping roads open for traffic. We depend on open streets to drive to the grocer or to pick up our returning student from the airport. And sometimes we use those roads to race our pregnant wife to the birthing center.
Hard conversations are hard because of some urgency. Something needs to be said right now or else bad things will happen. Often we put on our formal language when we intend to communicate some crisis point:
- “I’m disappointed in…X” is a way corporate managers temper the screaming in their skulls.
- “We need to talk….” Is the time-honored way spouses bring up all sorts of unpleasantness.
But if those conversational roads have been open for traffic for some time, and relationships have been established, sometimes those formal words need never make an appearance. Talking about things can be handled on the fly, in normal conversation, in small bits. That’s because trust builds with the word traffic. And those conversational roads can carry quite a lot of weight.
Talking is a wonder.
Who would have guessed?
Image credit: Kirk Livingston