Misha Glouberman leads a famous class called, “How to Talk to People About Things.” It covers everything from basic communication skills to how to get through negotiations and other difficult conversations.
When asked why it matters to learn to communicate better, in general (and I really love this), he responded,
“Other people are hard. And other people are important.”
We are social animals. Our relationships shape our lives. We have to know when to embrace conflict, as well as when we have to walk away from it.
One of Glouberman’s core teachings is to ask ourselves why we’re having a conversation. It includes asking why the other party is in the conversation too.
Are we looking to trade facts? Do we want to change someone’s worldview? Is there any reason they’d want to change? Is an argument really just a proxy for not wanting to end a relationship?
That last one will punch you in the gut. Maybe the face.
None of them are easy questions. But they are essential ones if we want a conversation to be productive.