Difficult Discussions, Their Value And Importance

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August 17, 2020,

Days come and go. They turn into months and years. At some point it feels like a sad blur because we know that time and life is shortening. Somehow when we’ve engaged in meaningful discussions with friends and people we love, those seem to last as long as our personal forever.

From those discussions can spring great ideas.

Great ideas are rare.

Good ideas are more common and mostly unproven but that’s okay. Mostly it is the enjoyment of the conversation that is the primary focus.

What it is about relaxing with a group of friends at a hipster eatery where others can hear your conversation that seems witty and thought provoking that can make us feel really smart?

Cool too.

We want others to hear the conversation and our group simultaneously laughing, especially if the other table is quiet and seems bored with each other’s company.

We have figured it out.

We’re having a healthy discussion and we want others to know about it.

Long live Dick Cavett.

Dick Cavett is an American television personality, comedian and former talk show host notable for his conversational style and in-depth discussions. He appeared regularly on nationally broadcast television in the United States in five consecutive decades, the 1960s through the 2000s.

We loved his shows. He engaged with political leaders, artists, writers, ex-prisoners and other notables.

You felt like you were part of the conversation, even if you sat in between them, you wouldn’t have a clue as to what to say.

Dick would say it for you. Dick is the king of witty and artsy.

Isn’t that why there are so many artsy movies that involve witty conversations?

Conversations with Other Women is a 2005 bittersweet romantic drama film directed by Hans Canosa, written by Gabrielle Zevin, starring Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter. The film won Best Actress for Bonham Carter at the 2005 Tokyo International Film Festival.

Here is the storyline. At a wedding reception in New York, a man in his late thirties (Eckhart) approaches a bridesmaid (Bonham Carter) of about the same age, and offers her a glass of champagne. As conversation ensues, they begin to flirt.

Witty small talk about such topics as the wedding party and their own past relationships gradually reveals to the viewing film audience that they are not strangers, but in fact were husband and wife. A series of flashback scenes shows much younger versions of the two of them together at the start of their relationship.

Now that our friends is the basis for some very intriguing conversation.

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Who would have thought? It is fun being a fly on the wall though.

Most of us crave healthy discussions. We know that we aren’t always right and our past experiences have taught us that picking the brains of bright and innovative minds has absolutely helped improve our lives.

When someone always has to prove that they are right and their position is the correct one; that is not a discussion at all.

“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.”… Robert Quillen

At the educational site philosophicalconceptions.blogspot.com, regarding healthy conversations they surmise, “In a discussion there is many views to any one topic, no discussion should have just two points of view being considered. It should have all points of views being looked at no matter how ridiculous any sound to anybody in the discussion. What is ridiculous to one person is normal for another because you need to remember that everyone’s minds work differently.”

Well said.

We’ve often enjoyed the conversations in Independent Films like the one above because they seem so much closer to real life and not scripted.

Nights and Weekends is a 2008 American film co-directed, co-written, co-produced by and co-starring Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig. The film follows a long-distance relationship and its aftermath.

The film recounts a long-distance relationship between two people, one of whom lives in Chicago, the other in New York City. The first half of the film follows their relationship while the second half focuses on the dissolution and potential continuation of it, which occurs a year after the events of the first half of the film.

We enjoyed the film in part because we enjoy virtually any film that Greta Gerwig produces and typically stars in like Frances Ha.

It is the discussion between the two lovers that slowly build and engulfs us in their lives. Lives we normally would care little to nothing about.

What most of do care about in our own lives, when it is time to have those difficult conversations, is deciding on how to present our ideas to the other party involved who is usually very important to us.

Viewing the past in the rear view mirror, we’ve never enjoyed difficult discussions, initiated by another significant other who didn’t put a lot of thought into it before dumping it upon us.

Please think about what you are going to say ahead of time and practice it.

Psychology Today echoes those sentiments in a March 13, 2017 article where they share, “Most everyone dreads the difficult, challenging conversation. For challenging or difficult topics, it’s best to plan to have the conversation in advance: “I’d like to talk with you about…” or “We really need to talk about…” Then, mutually agree on a time and a place for the conversation, and agree to meet in a place with enough space for all participants to be “comfortable enough” and to see each other clearly.”

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Very good idea, though not easy. Especially the relationship breakup. We have a friend who hated that type of conversation so much that she never had it. She just drifted away, didn’t respond to the other person’s attempts at communication and just faded away.

Having a discussion about breaking up with someone that she cared about, no matter how valid the reason, was just too hard to do.

Fortunately most conversations are not that heavy.

They still can be meaningful though.

“I’d rather lose an argument than get into a long discussion in order to win it.”… Rafael Nadal

The key is that they are an exchange of ideas. The more that you try and prove that you are right, the more you are pontificating and not discussing. Ideas are not being exchanged, just one person is trying to overpower the other.

Sometimes less, truly is more.

This is the one scenario where it is better to receive than give.

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