When Internal Conversations Lead to Unfair Resentment

Do you play out conversations and confrontational encounters in your imagination before they happen in reality?

This is a common trait of introverts and highly sensitive people. We are pretty good at playing things out in our heads first. And preparing for the worst. For negative reactions and fearing a bit of a fight. You with me?

It certainly has its uses. When you can visualise a conversation and make sure you know what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. But…

Unfortunately this approach doesn’t always lead to the best encounters. Especially when it comes to solving conflicts or achieving certain situational outcomes. We might start off on the wrong foot; defensive and assuming the worst in the other person. This can result in poor listening and misunderstanding. I know because I’ve been there. Many times.

So what’s the alternative?

In this episode I tell the story of an encounter I recent had with someone who didn’t cast themselves in a great light. I share the messages I received, where I took responsibility, and what I would do if I faced the same thing again in the future.

From Inner to Outer Conversations

I could tell they had created a situation in their head that didn’t exist in reality and this had spilled out into their communication. I had become a bit of an enemy who they didn’t trust, simply because they had developed a narrative in their mind about what had happened.

It’s like when you have a dream about someone doing something wrong. You spend the day resenting that person and feeling annoyed at what they did, even though they only did that thing in your head.

It might feel like we’re doing ourselves a good turn by preparing for the worst in other people. However it can do us a real disservice when it comes to building relationships and achieving positive outcomes.

I explore these points in particular:

  1. Don’t Be a Victim and Assume Everyone is Out to Get You
  2. Be Positive in Your Communication
  3. Start with Gratitude
  4. Clarify Expectations and Clarify Actions
  5. Is it in My Head or is it Real?
  6. Make the Inner-Conversation Positive
  7. Always Acknowledge Your Own Responsibility

Or Watch this Episode on YouTube

Over to You

Do you play out conversations and interactions in your head before you have them in real life? Do you usually do that in a positive or negative way? Please leave your response in the comments below.


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  1. Thanks for the podcast. Can sympathise with this; there’s often something a bit lacking in modern day communication. Some people tend to assume you know what they are getting at, even though they never actually say it. Do you think this is a failing of email and Facebook messaging, which are often fired off in a moment? And they make me feel inadequate or even guilty for misunderstanding!

    I guess this is why I spend ages before posting an email or blog post. I want to get it just right before I send it. Read it, rewrite it, read it again. It took me ages just to write these brief comments! 🙂

    1. Thanks Colin. It’s a very good question – I think there is definitely something in the fact that we fire off messages in a moment, and we do so immersed in our own context as well. I have noticed times when I’ve written a note to myself for future reference that I come back to later on and it makes no sense. Yet when I wrote it, it made complete sense. This probably happens to us in communication too. We think our unspoken context is shared by the other person, but it isn’t, so there is a lot of decoding required.

      I spend a lot of time trying to write, edit and re-write emails too. Can be annoying when there are a lot of replies to do! I suppose that too is a bit of a clue…with the busyness of our world and the demands on our time, we don’t have the capacity to give focused and understanding attention to everything.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Colin!

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