Halestorm is one of my favorite bands. Godsmack and Halestorm are my top two. One of the big reasons is they sound even better live than the recorded albums. That’s nearly impossible to do! They also have a variety of songs with themes like love-type ballads to “fuck you” anthems. Halestorm has a song “Conversation Over.” It’s basically a break-up song, but it did get me thinking. I also had a very long conversation yesterday. Well, that’s if you consider twelve hours a long conversation. The two combined created a thought that popped into my head on the way home from dropping a kid off at school.
I’d be lying if I said everything in that twelve-hour conversation was rainbows and unicorns. There were some unintentionally difficult conversational topics. I’ll admit, they were caused my inability to accurately verbalize my thoughts. One advantage over writing is that I can reread it and correct my words when I find they are not accurate enough. With spoken words, that’s not possible. Once spoken, words cannot be taken back, and depending on the nature of the conversations, nearly impossible to explain. On several occasions, the flaws in my conversational skills were revealed.
What separates yesterday’s difficult conversations from ones in my past was how the other person reacted to the shitty delivery of my thoughts. Did what I say hurt the other person? Yes. That in itself made me instantly regret my word choices as well as cause my heart to ache. Did this person give up by hanging up? No, and that’s huge. We ended up talking through it. Did she bust my balls later on for my words? Yes, but that’s okay. I deserved that, and I’m secure enough to poke fun at myself and have others do the same. There were a few other times when my word choices were not ideal. “Do you know what your mistake was there?” I was appropriately asked. “Yes, I do.”
How does this differ from other relationships in my past? For starters, no one wanted to have difficult conversations. In fact, they would run from them like a kid from an evil, child-molesting clown! (I’m not convinced there is anything but that type of clown.) The first wife refused to have the difficult conversations. It’s why I gave up. The second wife would have difficult conversations, but was always super defensive and took everything I said the wrong way. There was no trying to explain it. Instead of talking shit out, she reverts to sending books of texts, especially when I’m at work, and it is difficult to answer them. Then, I get passive aggressive follow-up texts on why I’m not responding with pages of texts back. If there are conversations had face to face, there is no neutral thinking. She’s always on the defensive and the attack. I’ll admit that I am not blameless; however, I cannot take all the blame for many issues. It reminds me of modern politics: there is no common ground unless I don’t have to give up anything and you see it my way.
Being able to point out people’s mistakes without being judgmental is a requirement in any relationship, personal or professional. Being able to be told your mistakes without getting defensive is also critical. Being told you’re wrong sucks. Hurting someone’s feelings suck. Having difficult conversations suck donkey dicks, but they are necessary for parties to grow in their relationships. There’s no point in just discussing the “nice” things. It would be nice to not have any conflicts, but that’s not possible. Avoiding the complicated subjects only delays future fighting and issues. When all the bad conversations are pushed to later, they tend to be the only types of conversations left several years into a relationship. I was very fortunate to be talking with someone who understands this. Those conversations, although unpleasant, are necessary. People who get this do not let a small, painful piece of the conversation ruin the entire thing. Not everything from yesterday’s twelve-hour marathon conversation was pleasant; however, the overall experience was epically mind-blowing. When you have relationships that fail (for whatever reason), it’s key to take note on why they did, and what makes the current relationship different.