When a discussion turns awkward.


Time to learn about discussions…

I got caught in a doozy of a discussion yesterday. It came at the end of a planning meeting involving people from various parts of the metro area.

Well, it started out as a discussion. But then there was some shouting, and a finger pointing right in a face.

Not really inappropriate, but definitely intense.

I was kind of on the periphery of the shouting, even though I’d been part of what the shouting was about.

AWKWARD.

And yet…fascinating. Because the shouting match took place between three people who care deeply for each other (two are a father and son) and have known each other and worked together extremely well for a long time. I happen to know that very direct conversation leading to sharp disagreement is commonplace between these three. And, due to circumstances, I ended up sticking around quite some time and seeing the aftermath…which was the three of them working together to finalize plans for an important event.

But holy cow, if I hadn’t known them so well, and hadn’t seen them move on so effectively, it would have knocked me for a loop.

I’m seriously bad at conflict. And way worse at confrontation. How satisfying it must be to be able to just spit out your thoughts, argue it out, and be done with it. Probably a lot healthier than my M.O., internalizing and fuming indefinitely.

But I don’t know if I’d ever have the guts to try it.

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8 thoughts on “When a discussion turns awkward.

  1. It has taken me a very long time, but in order to avoid confrontation, I have learned to say what I need to say without getting into a heated argument. I just don’t take the bait, but I let my thoughts be heard after all the shouting stops.

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  2. I used to work for a family-owned business. My boss had 3 adult children working for him, 2 sons and a daughter who was my age. About once a week, my boss would become enraged at one of his sons and read him the riot act. Whoever was the target would shout back at his dad and it was crazy to listen to. Then all would get quiet and I’d hear, “I love you (son’s name)” and “I love you too Daddy.” It was an excellent lesson in conflict resolution and I was always amazed at how no one was damaged by it. The sons and daughter adored their father and my boss adored his children. It was how they communicated.

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  3. What an interesting experience that would be to witness. It is intriguing how people handle these types of conversations differently. I’m like you in that I don’t like confrontation. Most times I’ll stay quiet instead of voicing my thoughts – unless I’m really close to the person, in which case I feel a little more liberty to be ‘me’ and tell it like it is, nicely of course.

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    • As I read your comment, it occurred to me that the more strongly I feel about a personal issue with someone else, the less able I am to speak up about it. What an unfortunate tendency!

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      • Isn’t it strange how that works? I believe that I am the same way. For me, it’s my way of avoiding the risk of getting into a heated argument, combined with the fear of them saying something that will add even more fuel to my opinion/issue.

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