The Hard Conversations

Uncomfortable situations can be awkward for all involved but they are especially awkward for the socially inexperienced. What an expert might consider basic knowledge might be something that a newbie has not yet learned. I like to break conversation types down into several “difficulty” categories. This is by no means scientific, set in stone, realistic, or even correct but it helps me gear up for a conversation when I know the topic beforehand.

Conversation Difficulty scale from Easy (1) to Really Hard (5):

  1. The Easy Conversation: This type of conversation is simple. Think of talking about something you love, a passion that you embrace with every fiber of your being. The words just flow and there is no end in sight.
  2. The Standard Conversation: You have these every day. Sometimes you trip up but it’s never that critical even if the content is important.
  3. The Slightly Hard Conversation: This usually happens every once in a while. Apologizing to someone, delivering some bad (but not too tragic) news, or even just talking to someone you’re attracted too. OK that last one is personal but many people have that problem right? This is not the type of conversation you want to have or mess up and some people will go to great lengths to avoid them.
  4. The Hard Conversation: Unlike the “Slightly Hard” conversations, you cannot avoid these. Feeling can and sometimes will get hurt and they are not easy to navigate. Examples include: Breaking up with a significant other, dealing with inconsiderate people, and particularly heated arguments.
  5. The Really Hard Conversations: Delivering tragic news and dealing with incredibly difficult situations are always the hardest conversations to have.

The examples and descriptions provided are from my experience and my current level of conversational skill. At the beginning of the year, I would have classified anything above the standard conversation and the hidden number 6) The Impossible Conversations. In the past few weeks I have started to think about the conversations that I avoid just to avoid conflict. Even dealing with rude behavior is something that I would shy away from.

I host a coffee shop meet up where people who are more introverted can get together and just talk, or meet new people, or just get out of the house. This meet is advertised on the internet and that means that we get all kinds of people with differing levels of social skills. Sometimes the people who come don’t mix very well. It’s rare but sometimes, as the host, I have to step in and mediate when things get out of hand. This is an example of a Hard Conversation because it is completely unavoidable if I want people to come back to these meet ups.

I am not great at dealing with conflict so when one rises in a meet up I host I don’t always have the best solution. I see things very logically and I don’t always take into account how other people feel when resolving a disagreement. This is something that I need to work on. I need to start thinking about how others are feeling and realize that not everyone follows the same logic paths that I do. In the next few weeks I want to find a way to start recognizing the feelings of others. I will then start to work with those feelings to resolve issues and conflicts that come my way.


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