Let’s face it. I was nervous. I knew exactly how this conversation was going to go. I knew what the person on the other end was going to say. Exactly how they were going to feel. And I knew the precise sequence of words I’d say in response, all before the conversation even happened.
I just knew. Or…I thought I knew. Or maybe, I wanted to tell myself that I knew exactly what was going to happen because I wanted to feel prepared. Ready. Able to respond with clarity.
When we convince ourselves that we know what someone is going to say, how they’re going to feel, and how we’re going to respond before anyone even says a word, we deprive ourselves of the ability to have a real conversation.
Of course we need to think things through. Preparation isn’t something to take lightly. But as we’re being thoughtful and responsible, we’ve need to remember to build in space for connection too.
Real conversation involves being in the moment. Listening to the words being spoken. Connecting with the feelings that remain unspoken. Recognizing our assumptions and then making the choice to take a closer look (without judging ourselves for having assumptions in the first place).
The more willing we are to hold everything we think we already know is going to happen loosely, the more room we make for real conversations to unfold.