What is a difficult conversation?

A difficult conversation is simply one that involves, or might involve, an element of conflict or disagreement. It can be between two people, or involve a group of people. It can be about something that happens in the moment or builds up over time.

The Seeds of Conflict

The ‘seeds of conflict’ are sown in our day-to-day interactions

Probably every day we find ourselves in situations where we see things differently to another person.

At times this doesn’t matter a great deal. We have a good relationship with that person and part of our way of interacting is to have a difference of opinion. Because we get on with them, we don’t always have to agree with their views.

At other times, we find ourselves in unexpected and more difficult situations. This might be the result of a minor difference or misunderstanding, but for some reason this offends us in some way and, before we know it, we react – and find ourselves in a difficulty.

In some situations, we can walk away, but in others we can’t. Conflicts develop in families, organisations and communities, situations where it is much more difficult to walk away. These conflicts can simmer in the background. More often than not, every so often they will flare up. Even if they die down again, the underlying causes remain. At any time another flare up is possible.