Here lately the conversations I have been involved in are unfruitful, emotionally charged, and downright foolish. I am immersed in an environment that is contaminated with negative discussions. Admittedly, I have been on the giving and receiving ends. Honestly, it's harmful to my productivity. We've all been a participant in negative conversations as an active listener or sharer. These conversations leave us misguided, unfocused, and just plain icky. I have recently stepped backed.
How do we avoid or deflect such unfruitful conversational encounters?
With a variety of clever reframing techniques.
Yes, I am advising you to devise ways to sidestep such encounters. We are all creatures of habit and our regular communication patterns guide us when speaking to coworkers, acquaintances, and those closest to us. The only way to overcome such is to replace our habitual thoughts and words. If we have a variety of retorts on the tips of our tongues, we can redirect the conversation and avoid the pitfalls of negative conversations.
Begin with a clear end goal in mind. What do you hope to get out of this conversation…laughter, encouragement, direction, or edification? If the goal is negativity, stay silent.
Recognize obvious cues that the tone of the conversation is going left. We can inadvertently give way to unfruitful discussions. This can be sharing gossip or speaking on a third person’s behalf. Direct the conversation away from negative issues. Change the focus. You can do this by clarifying or changing your wording.
Don’t be afraid to dismiss yourself from an unfruitful conversation. We cede power unnecessarily when we allow another individual to drive the conversation. Openly state that you do not wish to divulge in a topic. Firmly state, “that is none of my business”.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. -Ephesians 4:29