I can assure you that you won’t really know your significant other until you have some uncomfortable conversations together. You can fear that it will drive you away from each other, but it can also bring you closer. Getting to know someone on a deep level means getting to know the ugly side too. It’s an ignorant bliss to not know all of it. However, it will be a weight that looms over your head throughout the entire relationship.
Like Tim Ferris says, “Your success will be dependent on how many uncomfortable conversations you have”.
You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. One of the biggest parts of your growth will be in elevating the conversation with those closest to you.
It’s going to be difficult. You are fearing an unknown. However, evading it won’t make those problems go away. You must confront your fears.
I’ve had to have incredibly tough conversations with people close to me. My business partner and I have gotten in screaming matches. It brought our vision closer. We have the unique relationship of being best friends as well. That actually makes it tougher because quite naturally your friendship is going to take a hit. You have to keep business, business and pleasure, pleasure. We don’t really mix our friendship with what we have to accomplish. We’ll confront each other very quickly. I have focused on actually being a little more tactful over the last year or two because I’m more of an aggressive type.
I asked my last serious girlfriend very pressing questions. These are things that normal people wouldn’t ask until they were married, or they’d just wait and wait until they found things out years down the road. That’s not a position that I want to be in. “Reaction is pain, anticipation is power”, as Tony Robbins says. Unfortunately, this was a girl I thought I was going to marry and these conversations allowed me to see a different side of her. It caused us to break up. You’re probably like “great Jaret, you want to place strain on my relationship as if it’s not hard enough”.
I was very forward thinking, however, and realized that we weren’t on the same page with our values. We thought differently. There was a ton of passion, but the tension was created because of too much uncertainty. There wasn’t enough certainty in our relationship. There is no doubt that we would have had tremendous struggles in a marriage, because when two people see the world with such differences there is naturally going to be disagreements in terms of how the kids will be brought up, which friends we have in our lives, where to live, what to drive, what to eat, etc. If the value systems are misaligned in that I think certain things are unacceptable and she views them as completely normal, or vice versa, we are going to have incredible difficulty. Had I not asked her pressing questions, I would have married her and I would have been met with significantly more pain in the future had we broken up after we had a child.
It’s really the responsibility of people in a relationship to understand they are on the same page before they bring a child in this world. You must choose your life partner with one thing in mind – that you will stick together forever. That child didn’t choose to be brought into the world. You did. It’s very difficult on children to go through a divorce. Therefore, you need to think before you make a commitment like that. We live in a world where people don’t really think twice before they have children or get a divorce. It’s unfortunate. This is not to blame people who are divorced. I can assure you that they wish they made a better decision in choosing their life partner. With that being said, I do not think G-d makes mistakes bringing a child into this world, but you don’t want to be in a position where the mother or father of your child is not the person you grow old with.
You must learn to step outside of your comfort zone to express yourself. I told one of my clients who is a very bright kid and I see a lot of myself in, that he needs to let his business partner know his concerns before advancing.
After the discomfort, is growth. What I learned though is that I could have discovered that we weren’t right for each other without being so hard and aggressive with her. I went through immense pain as a result of trying to stick with her despite understanding the different value systems and I caused her pain as a result of it, trying to dig deeper and deeper. Looking back, I hate that I caused her pain. The way to go about it is very important. Be very tactful when asking and expect to hear some answers that you don’t want to hear. Don’t go in with rose colored glasses. Your business partner might have a totally different vision from you. Your employees might secretly want to do things that will sabotage your business and years of hard work. You have to find out the ugly side.
You have an intuition with what’s going on. Start asking the questions that your intuition is calling out for you to do.
Here’s a bit of advice. Before a difficult conversation, you can relax by going in a quiet place and just screaming out whatever nervous energy is inside you. This way you can speak calmly rather than having pent up energy trying to vent itself out.
My last employee was sabotaging my business. My intuition felt it. I waited too long to fire him. He cost me tens of thousands and hurt my reputation. Listen to your gut and have the difficult conversations.