There are a couple of TV shows I’ve seen lately that remind me of the difficult conversations process.
In The Chase, a team of players compete against a quiz show wunderkind. They usually lose. The host always ends the show with the challenge to others to “come and have a go if you think you’re clever enough”. Because it’s one thing to sit at home coming up with answers, quite another to do it under the spotlight.
When running the difficult conversations role play in groups, the audience will often watch the scene being played and be full of suggestions for how to do it better. But rather than offer advice from the sidelines, we ask them to come up and step into the scene themselves. It’s often much harder than it looks..
Then the other night I was watching a dating show called Take Me Out (I was in a mood for some garish entertainment). We saw a man and woman on a date, with their reflective voice-overs narrating what happened. This couple seemed to be really hitting it off, until they came to dinner. They sat down, and then the woman’s voice over revealed she felt non-plussed because he hadn’t pulled the chair out for her. We then saw her become slightly sullen, and him subsequently struggling to keep the conversation going. It all went downhill from there.
For want of a nail.. On such misunderstandings has many a relationship faltered. It’s a reminder of how all sorts of things, often unspoken, go on in relationships and why they can sometimes be so frustrating.