Today I was talking, in a way, about crucial conversations. In a discussion about an incident that affected a friend and me at the same time. I was considering even though we sit on two completely different sides of the situations we had, for the most part, arrived at the same place in conclusion.
Her position was that she wasn’t up for saying anything about what had bothered her because she didn’t want to come off as a selfish prick and my position was that I would risk it because I needed to address it head on. So, I did have the conversation and she did not based on our respective positions. By sharing what I felt, I was risking losing a relationship but in the same turn by not sharing, so was she. Right?
It will be interesting to see how our situations will evolve. I feel much better having had the opportunity to address my issues directly. I actually feel better. So much so that I’ve not given it another thought. In talking about the incident today, I felt by our conversation that she is carrying a burden that still seems to hurt her. But here’s the rub, neither of us has had to face the people we were hurt by. There may be consequences to my actions that include a loss of a relationship because I brought it up. While she may be able to involve herself in the relationship again without any issues. All because no one will have any idea that she felt (feels?) hurt.
For me, open conversation is crucial in any relationship that I truly value. However, I understand fully the consequences of this personal philosophy. On more than one occasion, I have alienated people who were not prepared for a crucial conversation. It’s hard for anyone to hear how you feel hurt or whatever the emotion might be without taking it personally, without being defensive. Understandable. It is nearly impossible to convey an idea that if I value a relationship with you, then we have to be able to communicate openly and truthfully. If I love you then at some point, we are going to have a conversation that makes us uncomfortable but at the end of it, we will be the better for it. Better because we are not stuffing real emotion away and saving for later all just to be polite.
On the flip side, I also wish people would invest in me the same way. If I have done a wrong, I wish like hell that person would take the time to tell me. There is no greater feeling when a relationship is strained than to have someone allow you to apologize and you be forgiven. It seems like the right thing to do.
Maybe I am wrong. There certainly isn’t one right way to do it. I know plenty of people who can ignore hurt feelings and there are no long term consequences. They feel hurt alone, keep it as long as they need and release it without it ever causing a crack in their own heart. And, by not sharing their feelings with another person, even the one who caused them issue, they have not created a crack in anyone else’s heart or what is more typical, a crack in the relationship. In the end, there is at least one sure truth, it is just as easy to damage a relationship with honesty as it is without it.