“I don’t think I could ever love you, but I want to be friends that touch.”
One of my friends was told this when she asked her German boyfriend to be brutally honest. Brutal honesty to an American means something different than brutal honesty to a German.
Communication is tough. Even when we speak the same language, we associated different emotions with words. A word that seems neutral for one is filled with emotion for another. The various ways we say things only makes the challenges worse. Sometimes we sense another is disrespecting us and so we respond defensively, causing them to feel and respond in the same way. This quickly escalates even though no harm was intended. It is times like these that we should stop and have a meta-conversation.
Meta-conversations are conversations about how we are conversing. They provide space to analyze our communication with one another, so that we can improve our approach. These conversations teach us both about ourself and others and help us to figure out a better way to resolve differences. In a team setting, they powerfully effect how the team decides to work with one another.
Resolving a single conflict is like giving a man a fish, having a meta-conversation teaches them how to fish.
In addition to this entry on meta-conversation, I thought it was worth having one with you the readers of this blog. I’ve regularly written this blog now for almost a year and a half, starting just before we moved to Mexico. Just this week, we moved back and so our next adventure awaits in the Bay Area.
I write this blog as a way of exposing my thinking and I appreciate both your challenges and encouragement. I am thankful that you lend your time to consider these ideas and I enjoy all the various comments that I receive from you all. In all the entries, I try to write something that I think would be helpful to you — something worthwhile to consider.
I plan to continue this blog well into the future, so if you enjoy this blog, I have two requests that would mean a lot to me. First, if you agree or disagree with an entry, please comment either on Facebook or here on the blog. Second, if you think an entry is particularly worth considering, use the links at the bottom to share it with your friends. Thank you for both over this last year, I am grateful for all of you.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! -Matthew