A strategic choice

Why do people rarely talk frankly to each other when tension arises?

Time inflates difficult situations where two or more people feel resentment towards each other, yet it seems people float through such circumstances without taking action. They talk to other colleagues, families, friends. They feed their anxiety and frustration by crafting a defensive narrative. And they continue escaping a direct confrontation.

That’s how our mind is wired. Clearing the air is difficult, it takes effort and commitment. In the moment, when the time comes to choose between going ahead and speaking to the other person or ignoring the problem and carrying on with the day, the brain will always, instinctively, go for the latter. Because that’s what keeps us safe.

Of course, it is a short-term safety. And in most cases it’s not that we are really in danger of serious consequences should we decide to, once and for all, have that chat.

Difficult conversations are a strategic choice. Have them often, with intention.

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