Even the mention of those words and the shortest sentence – “we need to talk” – is so scary that most people will rather go running instead of doing the talk. Others go into fight-club mode, ready to throw a few punches.
“We need to talk” is a short but powerful sentence. We believe it always means trouble, be it at home in your relationship with a partner or spouse, between a child and a parent, or at work. When the manager or supervisor on the other end of the telephone line says, “Can we talk?”, we know: something is up.
Our bodies go into fight or flight mode. The heart beats faster, you feel a bit warmer, your pulse may heighten and blood pressure rise, and you may be shaking just a tiny bit. Your mouth turns dry, and you can barely say, “okay, sure, when?”.
Which is a pity, actually.
“Can we talk?” is the best way to get your emotional health better, but also your physical health. Every time we have a misunderstanding, or get our nonverbal signals mixed, or take something the wrong way, we shorten our lives with a few seconds, or minutes or hours. It is a fact that more young people get heart attacks these days. It is mostly due to stress. Bad communication causes stress.
We want to blame many things. Diets, smoking, drinking, fitness (or lack thereof), worry and stress. Did I say stress? In relationships, whenever there is a tiny breakdown of “I do not agree”, or even a huge meltdown of “I want to break up”, we get furious, worried, sad, irritated, injured, embarrassed, aggressive.
But in the meantime, it takes a great person to say: “Hi, can we talk?” It takes some personal strength to make the first move. You are doing great when you can say to your spouse, or child, or lover, or mom, or boss or co-worker, or family member, or colleague or even to the stranger on the bus or train: “We need to talk”. It shows that you are a person who cares about communication. Just pay attention to how you say it. If you are super aggressive when you say it, it will have a negative effect.
Anyone saying “can we talk?” in a courteous manner, is super smart. If something is up, or anything is really wrong, the smartest move is to prevent that possible heart attack and make a healthier choice. Let’s stop the heart attack or stroke, or the blinding headache or chronic back-ache. Don’t feed that nasty stomach ulcer. Let’s connect with the other person who said those words to you or to me, and stand up tall and straight, and say, “yes, let’s talk”.
I know of no other way that is going to make any relationship or marriage or workplace better.
If we were less scared of that tiny, short sentence, the world is probably going to get better. Our health can also improve on all levels.
Hey, this just may be the solution to world-peace! (Donald Trump, are you reading this?)
So. Can we talk?