We Need to Talk

“We need to talk” are the most threatening four words in love and relationships. When you speak these four words to your partner his or her mind races wondering what he or she might have done wrong, when maybe all you wanted to do was to connect with your partner.

We need to talk
We need to talk

Important Conversations

Then there are the more important conversations about you not getting your needs met. More likely you’re apt to say, “We need to talk,” when something is amiss.

Sometimes your need to talk becomes so great because you’ve bottled something up inside for so long that’s it’s reached critical mass, and you explode at your partner as you release all that pent-up pressure. To prevent this from happening, you need a solid plan for uncomfortable communication.

Let’s face it, you love your partner and don’t want to do anything to hurt him or her. You don’t want to confront your partner about anything that he or she might think of as “no big deal” when it’s clearly something that’s important to you, so you decide to brush it away and try to tell yourself that, “Maybe it is no big deal.” And the pressure builds the more you try to squash your feelings in the best interest of the relationship.

By the way, chances are, you’re partner feels the same way and is doing the same thing.

This is the destructive dance which erodes and can lead to your relationship’s demise.

When either of you reaches that point of, “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!” and you or your partner explodes in a fit of rage, the other gets defensive, accusations and disrespect abounds and the war is on.

This is why you need a plan to express your needs or what is bothering you far before your angst reaches the boiling point; the sooner the better.

Before you start to execute the plan, practice your love mantra, “I love my partner. I wouldn’t do anything to hurt my partner and he (or she) loves me and wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt me. No matter what, we always desire the best for each other. We love each other.” You may need to repeat these words to yourself throughout the planning process, and you will want to have them ready to use during the potentially difficult conversation.

Review what’s bothering you. Try to reduce it to a single cohesive and definitive sentence (or as few sentences as possible). Then imagine what your highest and best outcome might be. I mean, if you could have all your dreams come true about this situation or concern, what would it look like?

Remind yourself of your partner’s best qualities, what he or she brings to your life that you would miss if he or she wasn’t in your life (you might like to start off a difficult conversation by first saying these things to your partner, so that he or she know you mean no harm and respect him or her for what he or she brings to the relationship which is highly valued by you).

Next, approach your partner about what might be an appropriate time to have a chat. You might want to avoid those four words, “We need to talk,” and maybe discuss with your partner what might be a more non-threatening way to ask to have a talk. Let him or her offer up the words that might be more appropriate.

Keep in mind that your partner may not be ready to have this conversation now, even though you might be feeling it’s getting close to urgent. Allow your partner the space to pick a time when they can focus on you, your concerns and your relationship.

Be certain to allow enough time for this conversation. How much time you’re thinking it’s going to take? Multiply that two-and-a-half times. Because most likely you’re thinking about how long it’s going to take to express your concerns, but you’re not allowing enough time for reaction and interaction.

Be prepared for this to be a two-way street. When you express your concerns, there’s a chance your partner will become defensive of having some concerns of their own that they will want to bring up during the conversations.

Find a way to sit during the conversation that is not confrontational. Sit beside each other (not across from each other), face each other and try to maintain eye contact. Do not attempt to have a difficult conversation while driving. This could be dangerous.

Express your concern as well as what it might look like if you could have it any way you want it, then allow your partner to figure out a way to give you what you need. You might be surprised that he or she can find a way to give you what you need in ways you may have never thought of.

Leave room for full expression of feelings, and try not to berate each other for fully expressing emotionally. There may be a pressure that has been building up over a period of time, and this is a good way to release it. Try to be open, not to take it too personally, be forgiving, and compassionate.

Be willing to compromise, like, this is what I want/this is what you want. Let’s find a win-win solution that can give us both what we are looking for.

If the conversation is tarrying on and is taking longer than you expected to reach a resolution, no problem. Agree to take a break, resume your loving relationship, maybe take a dinner break, or have a good night’s sleep, and pick it up again later.

There’s no need to adhere to the old adage, “Don’t go to bed angry,” and fight it out when your energy reserves are dwindling. This is not the best approach. Agree to lay down your weapons and let it simmer, then pick it up again later, when you both have the time and energy to honor each other and work through this process with your greatest capabilities.

There’s no need to rush through this, especially if you have the rest of your lives to think about.

You can do this and your love can thrive.

Organic Conversation

We are unique life forms on this planet, with the ability to conduct incredible internal processes of thinking and maintaining energetic connections and we are so blessed to be able to exchange thoughts and ideas with each other via interpersonal communication. While we are learning that everything living (and elemental, which does not appear to be alive) maintains an energetic communicative connection, we possess an expanded capability for maintaining connection and communication via language and conversational speech which increases our ability to have even more meaningful relationships.

The ability to converse one with another brings the world together, and when I meet someone from India in Las Vegas and we can easily communicate because we speak the same language, the idea that “it’s a small world after all” resonates so clearly in that moment.

So, doesn’t it make sense to use our skills of verbal communication as much as possible?

With the proliferation of cell phones and their ability to exchange texts and images, our ability to communicate via the spoken word is diminishing. It might be time to review what your cell phone use says about you and consider reaching out to others in the 3-D world, it doesn’t take much effort at all.

If you look up from your phone, you might be surprised to see the myriad of opportunities available to practice your gift and skills of conversation with another human being, even though the tendency is to look up from the phone and avoid connecting with another person, even if it means fake texting or communication via your phone (fubbing).

I mean, you could practice your skills of verbal communication with inanimate objects, like (and you might have to start there, or you already be talking to your) stuffed animals, trees or rocks but they’re unlikely to respond to you in conversation. If they do, that is a conversation of a different type we can talk about later. And while you can talk to your dog, cat or other pet, it is still unlikely you will be able to hone your skills of interactive communication much.

So, think about putting your phone away and look around. I was in line at the store yesterday, and everyone in line was on their phone except for a young man with an armload of spinach. I might not have even noticed the boy if I was engrossed in my phone waiting for my turn to pay the cashier for my groceries. It turns out he was an 11-year-old grandson, running errands for his grandmother so that he could earn money to get a new video game. When I mentioned that he and I were the only people in line without phones, he said the only reason he wasn’t on his was because it was in his pocket and his hands were full with spinach for his grandma.

You could spark a two-way communication with as little as a, “Hello,” spoken to another person, though you run the risk of being snubbed (or fubbed) if the person is on their cell phone. It can be difficult to break through to interactive verbal communication with someone who has developed a dependency with their phone.

How does this happen? It starts with having the basic need of feeling connected to other human beings, so we text someone, comment or post a status update on social media. When we get a response, view, like or share, a shot of Dopamine is administered to our nervous system which makes us feel good. The feel good part is good but the downside of Dopamine is that along with it comes a craving, a need to have more. This is how Cocaine, or any other addiction, works inside our physiology.

Thankfully, reaching out via interactive verbal communication does not carry with it the same addictive quality but does satisfy our need for connection, so it might be worth giving it a go. If you try it, you might like it.

Try taking advantage of the many opportunities you have each day to strike up an organic conversation with someone you pass by on the street, or have a bit of fun with the cashier at the checkout stand. I love watching the expression of cashiers who are surprised to have someone actually try to engage in a brief conversation while they are trying to conduct their business in a trance state. Often their job requires they greet you as part of their compulsory duties, little or no response is necessary or expected. It breaks them right out of their trance when you respond with a complete sentence, or better yet a question. Try this live, unrehearsed organic form of entertainment… plus you will have connected with someone (even if only briefly) and may have even lightened someone’s workload that day.

While it is difficult to compete with the addictive qualities of our electronic devices, finding healthy ways to reach out in organic conversation can help enrich the quality of your life and potentially have a positive impact on the life of someone else.

The key is in the doing of it. Simply decide to start small. Leave your phone in your car while you shop. It will be there when you get back. This is a good place to start, to see if it makes you more aware of the real world full of people looking to feel connection (not the superficial faux-connection offered by our electronic devices) and connect a little bit. Just see if you can make eye contact, smile and say, “Hi.” You can feel the connection, even if that’s all there is to it.

You can ramp up the intensity, if you dare, by finding something about them (or what’s in their basket) to comment or compliment them on. If they take the bait, now you’re exercising your ability to engage in organic conversation. Congratulations.

To increase the quality of your organic conversation, think about engaging the energy of your heart in the communication process. If you have a general feeling that you have concern and/or genuinely care about the person you are talking to, they will be able to feel it in your words. And if you can maintain eye contact and pause to intently listen to their words as they speak, this intensifies the connection even more.

All it takes is a little practice and, who knows? You may find yourself not bringing your cell phone to restaurants or meetings. The possibilities are endless.

We are the only life form on this planet with the ability to experience real connection in face to face interactions with organic conversation. Let’s not let technology take it away.