Saturday, December 16, 2023

Relationships/Communication: Goal of Conversation

 One of my high priority Life Values is RELATIONSHIPS. The primary sub-heading of that Value is COMMUNICATION (because, obviously, a good relationship is based on good communication).

Several years ago I made a list of topics I would like to share on my blog. On that list is a reminder to recount a conversation that I had with my son a long time ago. Since that conversation, I have shared what he told me many times, with Bible study groups, friends, etc.

On the occasion of our conversation, I was thinking about having a very difficult conversation with a beloved family member. I was talking to my son about how I dreaded it and hoped I wouldn’t say the wrong thing.


His words to me (paraphrased):

“My advice would be to make it a priority to remember the goal of the conversation. 

“If the goal of the conversation is to get them ‘told,’ or ‘tell them off,’ that would be one approach. If that is what you decide is the most important goal, then do it. You may feel a whole lot better. After you have told them off, you may have a tremendous sense of relief that feels pretty good at the time (the “so THERE” effect).

“But if the goal of the conversation is to discuss something and then be able to leave the conversation with the relationship at least intact, and maybe even better, then your approach to the conversation will be entirely different.

“You have to realize that with the first option, you risk fracturing (or totally breaking) the relationship, as a result of your doing what you needed to do to feel better.”


Well, I must say that I took that advice to heart for the occasion I was seeking advice about; I thought it was insightful and wise, and I do believe it helped me maintain and possibly repair and save a relationship that was very fragile. I was able to make my points in that difficult conversation, but because my primary goal was to protect the relationship, I didn’t blow up and say some of the things I really “wanted” to say (but should not have).

I will also admit that through the years, in our own relationship, this wise advice has not always been followed by my son or myself. That’s when the need for forgiveness kicks in (a topic for another blog post). But, the reason this principle is so important is because words have consequences, and they cannot be un-said. 

But, we are human, and I dare say that everyone who tries to remember and implement this “goal of the conversation” principle will have successes and failures.

So, it’s an “easier said than done” goal, but nonetheless, it is a wise and important point to consider when facing a difficult conversation.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 NIV

I read this at “Why does Paul tell us to season our conversation with salt? He means that our words should be tasty and delightful to people who may hear them. Our words can also be used as a preservative—to build and to strengthen relationships.”

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.” Proverbs 25:11 NLT

Likely my last post before Christmas, I want to wish all my faithful followers and readers a very Merry Christmas!

#GoalofConversation #OhBeCarefulLittleTongueWhatYouSay #watercolorcandycane #MerryChristmas

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