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Difficult conversations

It’s never a good time to have a difficult conversation. There will always be a reason to delay, to ignore, to avoid. We think that there will be a right time, but it just isn’t now.

Time passes. The issue gets worse.

You look back and see you probably should’ve had the conversation already. If you do it now it’ll seem like you were avoiding the issue, too scared to have that awkward conversation. Bringing it up now will clearly highlight that it’s been on your mind a long time but you were too uncomfortable to bring it up. So again you delay the inevitable.

By now the issue is festering badly. You’ve made such a meal of it in your head. You’ve been thinking about it for so long you can’t untangle the original emotions from the many layers you’ve added since it first happened. It’s affecting your daily life. You think about it at work, at the gym, when you get up in the morning.

You realise you cannot avoid it any longer. You get together with the person in question and prepare yourself for the worst possible confrontation.

“I have to talk to you about that time a few months ago,” you say, in a wavering voice, a tightness constricting your throat.

“Oh yes, that. I’m sorry about that. I realised later I should have dealt with it differently. I’ll be more considerate next time.”

And with those few words the sun comes out and dissolves all the layers of unnecessary emotion away.

You did that all to yourself, those hours, days, weeks of anxiety and stress. You could’ve avoided it all with a simple conversation when it first happened. It all seems so easy now. You promise yourself you won’t let anything fester again.

Let’s see.

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