Is there a more productive way to spend a couple of hours than deep in conversation with someone you trust?
A good conversation allows us to open up. To share our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses, our fears and our fragile hopes. It’s a place where we can let our guard down and feel safe. Where we can receive validation that our feelings and experiences are not so unusual, and that not everyone is out there ‘#living their best life’ every moment of the day.
The best conversations are often spontaneous. It’s rare that we can throw ourselves straight in – each conversation is a journey. We start by chatting about our work or the weather. An upcoming holiday. A new local café. As we warm up, we drop in little titbits of personal information. The person we’re talking to reciprocates, so we go a little deeper. And deeper still, until we get to the root of the thing that’s been sitting in the back of our mind stagnating in silence.Sometimes all we need is to laugh with friends, chat about family life or have a good moan about life’s little niggles. But a real conversation often leads to a discussion of something that needs to be brought out into the open, whether we’re talking through a challenging work issue with a colleague or revealing relationship difficulties to a friend.
What we’re often seeking is confirmation: It’s OK to feel like that. Yes, I struggle with that too. No, you shouldn’t have to put up with that. Sometimes, however, we need to be challenged. We need to either be pulled out of one way of thinking, or have it strengthened in the face of disagreement. But while opinions may differ, there needs to be understanding. Judgement has no place here.
We end these talks feeling lighter. Unburdened. Perhaps with a solution or new viewpoint to process, or maybe just with our mind a little clearer and our confidence that little bit stronger.
As author Linda Lambert says, “One good conversation can shift the direction of change forever.”