Does Your Conversation Create Stress in Other People?

Yes – to varying degrees, we probably all create stress in other people. The first step is to accept that is the case. Some of us have a congratulatory view of ourselves. We say we are caring, in touch with our feelings, interested in relationships and so on. We are such nice people. How could anyone accuse us of creating stress?

Some of us have a negative view of ourselves. We often feel rejected, let down by others, we have low self esteem and so on. We believe that others give us stress. It’s that way round.

However we are all human. We all have faults. It may be unwise to claim perfection in any aspect of our lives. Everything we do and say may be faulty to some degree. Take any conversation between two people, for example. This may be one of the most frequent sources of stress in our lives. A conversation with our partner at home or our manager at work can go wrong and leave us feeling tense, frustrated, not understood or appreciated; in other words, stressed. We often know beforehand that these negative experiences are likely to take place and we may do our best to avoid them.

We can have ‘weather’ conversations about trivial topics. These may look like a good way of avoiding stressful talk. But this may mean you avoid talking about how your partner came to crash the family car. It may mean you don’t get round to talking about why this person is taking a lot of time off work. When serious topics are not grappled with, stress can increase.

What might we do? Any suggestions?


2 thoughts on “Does Your Conversation Create Stress in Other People?”

  1. This is an interesting topic and one that has been on my mind lately. Personally, I find it takes discipline to forego the desire to impose ideas and opinions on others and instead ask questions with the intention of listening and learning. It seems many problems do not have clear-cut or “one size fits all” solutions, so I fear that offering unsolicited advice may heap stress onto the situation rather than resolve it.

    I wonder if having the discipline to truly listen to someone is some indicator of a person’s level of humility. I know I struggle personally with taking a step back and accepting that, in many situations, I could learn much more from a person than I could possibly hope of teaching them.

    1. Humility is indeed a virtue. I believe that it is the case that we can learn more from a person than we could hope to teach them. On the other hand we can learn more about how to teach a person the longer we listen to them.
      It certainly does take personal discipline to listen. Listeners need a strategy. One strategy might be to remind ourselves that we are helping someone by simply listening. Listeners are very rare beasts.
      and, when rare, they are valuable to the talker.

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