Future conversations


When I had a difficult conversation I had to have, I used to play out the talk in my head.  I would think out words the person might respond with and I would think about my response to their response.  I would go through every possibility I could think of, so I would have a rebuttal.  So I would be prepared.

Inevitably, they would say something unexpected. or mean.

And then, I would flounder.  All my carefully thought through arguments would dissipate. They would leave me feeling stranded and sideswiped and stupid.

Or, and perhaps even worse, I would have the conversation with myself and feel as though it happened.  Because I had talked it through so much in my head, part of me would feel like I’d already talked to that person.

Or, and definitely worse, I would be angry with the person for the conversation we never had.  My blood pressure would spike. I would start in a space where the person had responded with the ugly, hateful things.  But that had only happened in my head.

I hated how that made me feel and how unfair it was to the person.

And so I stopped.  Instead of focusing on the fiction in my head, I focused on facts.  I stopped playing through the conversation before hand, but listened to what the other person had to say in real-time.

Did I get it perfect?  Yeah, not so much.  But I tried.

What do you do for difficult conversations?

3 thoughts on “Future conversations

  1. Well I try to remember what my objective is, what I want in the outcome. I try to keep a grip on my emotions. That’s hard at work and almost impossible with family. But I try.

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