“I was totally blindsided. Why didn’t anyone talk to me about this? Why is a written memo the first indication that I’m upsetting people with some of the things I’m doing? I’m so hurt and angry!”
These were the words I heard today from a woman who had just come out of a meeting with her boss. Her emotions were so strong and so painful that it was difficult for her to find words adequate to express them. She repeated over and over, “Why didn’t anybody talk to me?”
In truth her boss may have made an tentative attempt to talk with my friend, but clearly there was never a time when she had created a time and space for talking it over. And perhaps there were times when my friend may have ignored or misinterpreted subtle hints that some of her actions were problematic. She thought she was being helpful, others saw her as butting in. She thought that it was OK for some of her personal files and books to be on her desk, others saw her as inconsiderate of space.
‘Talking it over’ is so much easier if we do it sooner rather than later. Issues can grow from minor annoyances to huge barriers so quickly. Trust is eroded when we don’t deal with differences, when we avoid conflict. We may waste huge amounts of psychic energy as the conversation that needs to happen grows in our minds without our giving words to our feelings and expressing our concerns. “Let’s talk it over” is so easy to say. It’s such a simple way to begin a conversation that needs to happen.