A new trend in business meetings and in personal coaching is having “big conversations.” Instead of tiptoeing around controversial topics in order to maintain decorum, managers are actually encouraged to bring up emotion laden subjects.
By encouraging debate and even conflict over taboo topics, managers bring potential problems and hidden agendas out into the open and onto the table to be dealt with. So long as managers make it clear that nobody will be punished for disagreeing with the status quo or for taking an unpopular position, this method is considered to be highly successful in team building and strategizing.
What about in our personal relationships? Instead of dwelling on superficial topics or trivial issues in order to maintain equanimity, what if we go for the big conversations? Does the time we spend texting and snapchatting really count toward getting to know someone? What if we were to discuss the uncomfortable subjects earlier in a relationship? Can we be more honest and straightforward in our daily conversations?
When you are beginning a relationship or going on the first few dates, there might be some ways you can improve your time together so that you don’t waste weeks or months being so superficial that you never find out who the other person really is. Perhaps our conversations can go “big” instead of continually dwelling on the cocktail party trivialities that couples often spend a lot of time on, especially in the early months of their relationships.
Of course, on your very first date, it’s probably not wise to launch into deep and murky waters. For example, you might not want to bring up those underlying fears that have haunted you ever since a traumatic incident in first grade, or launch into a tear-filled account of how you broke off your engagement with only weeks to the wedding just as your new date pulls out your chair.
On the other hand, there is some wisdom behind the new “go big” trend. Don’t be so afraid of revealing your true thoughts and feelings or of asking the big questions that all your conversations remain on the superficial (even though not uncomfortable) level.
Ladies, do you feel obligated to “keep it chill”? Are you afraid of becoming “that woman” who spills her guts or who is considered to be overly emotional? Gentlemen, do you fear women bringing up intimate or potentially difficult subjects? Does this make you feel pressured? What can we learn from the master conversationalist?
Immediately after asking the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink of water, Jesus says to her: “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water’” (John 4:10). He leads her immediately from the mundane to the higher order. And, though the conversation was undoubtedly uncomfortable for the woman (who had to admit to having five husbands) she recognized Christ as Lord and went on to evangelize her entire town.
Sometimes, in order for something truly great to happen, we have to take the uncomfortable leap…into deep waters. We have to have the “big” conversations to get to the next level.