Colossians 4:6 - Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
It’s common when having a conversation to start a new thought, and part way in forget what the thought was. Perhaps you and your friend chuckle a little about it, but there’s no chuckling going on when your mind goes blank due to emotional pain.
It’s easy to find your mind drifting away into a safe, hiding place when a conversation begins to head toward the direction of the pain that lies just below the surface.
You want to run away.
You want to be anywhere but with your friend.
You want to talk about anything, but what has just been drug up to the surface.
What do you do? Do you take the risk and explain to your friend that you aren’t able to talk about your pain? Maybe you do. Yet, your mind draws a blank on how to begin.
What if your listener really doesn’t care about your struggle? They just want to enjoy a fun conversation and not get too deeply into a discussion. Is that okay?
It’s really up to you. You might think about testing the waters by talking about a milder memory. Then you can see if your listener is receptive to talking on a more personal level.
Plus, do you really want to constantly talk about serious matters? Maybe not. But the pain is still beneath the surface. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t have drawn a blank.
Lifehacker.com has some ideas on broaching difficult conversations in their article, “Four Ways to Make Difficult, Serious Conversations more Productive.” One of their suggestions is to “level and edit your thoughts” by sharing from your perspective and using “I’m feeling,” statements; along with realizing that not everything that comes to mind should be shared. Another is when in doubt, slow down the conversation by turning slightly away from your friend while still continuing to talk.
Drawing a blank when a conversation is headed toward emotional pain that lies just beneath the surface can be difficult to get past. But with the help of the suggestions in the article above, you may find that you can test the waters before plunging in, and find a way to share your feelings without making the conversation only about serious matters.
When making a special dish, it’s important to not forget to add seasonings to the food. Without a little salt, your meal will taste plain. The same is true of conversations. You must show grace to your listener and be patient with yourself if you happen to draw a blank when the discussion hits emotional waters. God can help tell you the right words (seasonings), to add at the right time so that both parties end the conversation with a better understanding of where you each stand.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.