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Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk

Let's Talk NEXT Empowerment Blog

Cozy on the sofa under the heavy throw, a thick stack of Sunday newsprint sat on my lap and my small pot of tea joined us on the coffee table nearby. Bliss. 

I relished the precious hours of the week when neither the calendar nor calls threatened interruption. Church-going was history and meditation not yet my practice. My outstretched arms leisurely turned pages from headlines about war to highlights about fashion. 

I sat up in a start. One story struck my spine like a minister warning me of burning in hell: an analysis of millions of books had revealed not only fewer conversations about spirituality, but also less use of words like kindness and love. 

With more Americans identifying themselves as having no religious affiliation, this change in our speech made sense. The shock was that I cared.  

My fear wasn’t just that words were going away. It was that the conversations were, too. In my coaching I’d repeatedly seen the scenarios: 

The project manager doesn’t give feedback to her lead.  

The young lawyer doesn’t ask his spouse to help with the laundry.  

The struggling pediatrician doesn’t ask for break from a grueling schedule. 

Even the most skilled communicators with high status were afraid to say what needed to be said.  


I reflected on recent small but scary conversations of my own: 


Yesterday was rough for you.  I’m sorry that I was so self-absorbed that I didn’t take even a minute to see how you were doing. 

I’m embarrassed. I don’t know whether or not I sent that invoice two months ago. 

Can you give me a glue gun lesson? I don’t know how to use it. 

Initiating each exchange came with some shape of shame—that I was thoughtless, careless, incompetent. I would be a disappointment.  

Underneath it all? I would not be loved if they saw my many imperfections. Each of us has different fears about unspoken words, but no human escapes them. 

I’d managed to muster up the courage for tiny conversations. The rewards arrived: 

My co-worker knowing she matters. 

A deposit into my bank account on its way. 

Increased confidence that I’m not completely incapable of crafting. 


Screens of all sizes now stand in for the human voice. Acronyms and choppy messages replace the sights and sounds of our apology, our exuberance, our anxiety. Our eyes peer into our phones instead of the windows of the souls of others. We have less information for keeping connection and our heartfelt compassion for the death of a friend’s loved one appears as millimeters of a yellow emoticon. 

My history of failing to have conversations—apologies, asks, admissions, and more—have cost me connection, peace of mind, and my integrity. The words in ink reminded me. 

If we don’t keep talking, we are going to forget how. While our vocabulary of may be changing, we can keep using the words we have, including “please”, “thank you”, and “I’m sorry.” Sundays mornings may have their sacred silence, but let’s keep talking in between. We could all use a little more love and kindness. 

Coach Koenig 

Are you looking at screens when a loved one’s face is nearby? 

Which face to face conversations make you anxious? 

Is there a small but meaningful conversation awaiting you? 

1 Comment

  1. Loved this reflection!
    Part of my year name has the words, Courageous Connections. I want those conversations that deepen understanding, relationship, meaning and keep us curious about the person or group we are spending time with.
    While our personal technology offers a certain safety zone, it is not all that satisfying and may be a barrier to the next ‘treasure of gold’ in connecting with another! I am hopeful! Thank you Susan!

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