For the last few months, I’ve been sharing my excitement about The Pause, a helpful step anyone can take before saying or doing anything in response to stress or conflict. I describe the Pause as a way to bring our best selves to our most stressful moments. Handling conflict or stress well, as many of you have admitted, is easier said than done, especially now with so many hot button issues, everywhere!
Even with my considerable communication skills, I’ve been wondering how to stay close to people who feel far away these days, geographically, emotionally, and hardest of all for me, politically. Reducing contact might be understandable, but how long can we go on like that before damage is done, long term? How do you “tend and mend” with someone when the last conversation went off the rails or left you feeling deeply disconnected? Recently, I read an article that offered a science-based answer to that question. Research shows that for every negative interaction there needs to be five positive ones.
As we think about closing the distance on those relationships in our lives that need tending, mending, and be-friending, the Pause will be key to bringing our best selves to those conversations. The increased competence we feel from being ready and prepared gives us confidence to reach out. That confidence will help us find the courage to re-engage and strive for that 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.
If you’re still struggling with how to Pause and prepare for your next challenging conversation, I want you to know you’re not alone. I encourage you to keep turning to your Pause Journal to reflect and ready yourself. You are welcome to revisit this topic during my next virtual workshop on October 20 and be sure to bring a friend!
May we all be kind, curious, and courageous in conflict!