I’ll Take Direct Communication Over Indirect Any Day

 In Conflict management training

I grew up raised by Israeli Jews (and I am an Israeli Jew myself). In my family we were always taught to speak our minds, that debate is healthy, and to always stand up for ourselves. We are not a passive people! I truly believe that this is one of the reasons I grew up to be such an assertive person. I have never had a difficult time advocating for myself or confronting people when I took issue with something. Friends, family, teachers, bosses; you name it. If I had an issue, you’d surely hear about it. Over the years I’ve learned to hold back a little or pick my battles, but direct communication has always been my go to, for better or for worse.

The West’s Culture of Avoidance

The older I became  and the more I became immersed in other subcultures where people came from all types of various backgrounds, the more I began to witness the pervasiveness of indirect communication as the standard and acceptable form of communicating. I learned about the ‘appropriate’ way to discuss issues, debate or work through conflict. Anything outside of those guidelines was viewed as aggressive or problematic. I bought into this for many years before realizing that a lot of what was deemed acceptable was just the west’s pervasive culture of avoidance.

Lie instead of telling people how you really felt.

Validate people’s experiences or opinions even when they should probably hear the truth or do better with a reality check.

Weaponize your pain in order to avoid having to have difficult conversations.  Instead make the problem ‘how the person confronted you’.

I get that sometimes we have to soften how we say things or pick a different time to bring something up. I have no issue with that. But entire relationships based on avoidance only end in resentment, or blowouts, or ghosting. It does not create sustainable or healthy relationships.

I will always prefer direct communication over indirect.

Even if it’s something hard to hear. Some of the people I trust the most are the ones who I know I can tell how I feel and they won’t immediately shut down, minimize my feelings or get defensive.

We can always work on and improve our communication and emotional literacy skills. For some of us, we need to learn to be better listeners. For others, it’s learning to feel safe confronting others. This isn’t always easy work because patterns are incredibly difficult to break, but to me it’s worthwhile (and necessary) work.

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