There is an important difference in sharing information about a person to others and engaging the person directly. I highlight the contrast by asking, “Why are you telling me/us this story? Is it to let us know about this person or are you seeking help in your efforts to talk with this person?”
The difference in wanting to talk about a person and seeking ways to talk with a person is very obvious. So apparent that I almost didn’t think it worth noting in a blog. However, as I listen to people in my Coaching and Mediation work I hear many stories that fall into the category of being “about” someone. It is not as common to hear someone seeking ways to talk “with” someone.
I understand very well that most of the issues that have brought me and my client together have root causes in lack of communication with someone. So, it is not a surprise that someone will welcome a chance to vent the frustration, hurt, loss and pain from the conflict that exists. What is interesting is the small number of people who are seeking ways to confront the offending person in a healthy way.
Again, I am not new at working with people and relationship problems. I get that people hurt one another through disappointment, let down, ignoring, disrespect, bullying and many other ways. You can fill in the blank with a way you have been hurt by someone in the past or even very recently. It is ineffable that we will hurt each other. We are human, not perfect! So, with the eventual hurt as a reality the question is “How do we deal with that hurt when it happens?”
You can pay me to work with you through the details of resolving the conflict, I will be glad to assist. But, here is a free tip to get you started on your own. Work at talking with people. They may have been very offensive, unreasonable, stubborn even mean in your past encounters. You may be so shutdown that you have given up trying to talk directly to them. It may be dangerous for you to try to break down the barrier alone. I am not suggesting that you put yourself in danger; physically or emotionally. I am recommending that for your own sake you try, (with the help of others when needed), to connect and resolve the impasse. The satisfaction of knowing that you did everything you could to try to work out the issue between you and another person will be a great comfort in your future no matter the conclusion.
I also know it is usually easier to talk about someone than to talk to them. Do the harder thing and speak words that will edify, build up and bless directly. What the “problem” person will learn from resolving the issue with you may help them avoid creating the same scenarios with others later on.
I would love to hear ways that you have turned the “about” to “with” in your own experiences.