A billion problems could be solved today if we just said everything.
Whenever someone tells me about their impossible conflict with an impossible person, I always sense the solution is: Get with this person, sit them down, look them in the eye, and say everything.
I know it’s not always this simple.
1) They don’t want to give you the time of day.
2) You already know what they’ll say.
3) They won’t care after you talk with them.
4) They might hurt you again.
That’s all very understandable and very true.
But the thing about saying everything is that it’s not always for them. It’s for you. Whether they blow up, flip a table, throw things, shut down, cry a river, or punch a wall — you still need to tell this person everything that you’ve been telling everyone else.
All that talk behind someone’s back needs to be said to this person’s face. Not only for integrity, but because you’re lighting a time-bomb of resentment that will bleed into your roots, and that needs to be dropped before it poisons you.
I know it’s scary. Confrontation sucks. It also has a way of making us prideful, hostile, more prone to outbursts, more aggressive. But there’s a way to do this that communicates what’s most important to you, in hopes that this creates a good will on both sides moving forward. If not, you did your part, and you learned a lifelong lesson on being real to yourself. And if so, then you’ve made a lifelong friend who knows you’ll be real, even when it’s uncomfortable.
It could be a leader, a pastor, an older person, a family member, a close friend, a loved one: and something is really bothering you. That crass joke, their style, the way they handle business, their lack of empathy. Let go of the petty stuff. But bring up what really matters. Be gracious and ask if you’re misunderstanding them. Don’t guess motives. Trust what they say. Expect a temper tantrum. Expect the resistance and preprogrammed defenses. But speak your heart. Respectfully, tactfully, graciously, and holding nothing back.
The world needs this, and so do you.