I’m often helping people have what they expect to be hard conversations. It’s usually because there’s been some sort of build up. Things they wanted to say, but haven’t, for some reason.
Maybe they don’t want to rock the boat.
Maybe they are hoping the person will catch on and change their behavior on their own.
Maybe they don’t want to seem “nitpicky”.
Maybe they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
Ok, let’s pretend this is you now. For whatever the reason, you are frustrated or irritated or annoyed by something someone is doing and you haven’t said something. And when things get put off, they tend to start feeling bigger than they really are. Well, it’s big for you, but not the person you need to talk to. Why? Because you have been noticing every single transgression. Keeping score in your head. Getting more and more frustrated and…
The other person has no idea anything is wrong.
And then they do that thing one too many times and you come at them too strong for the ONE thing they just did. You are coming at them with the force of all the times they did this thing that they didn’t know was an issue. Hardly fair.
If this is someone you are in real relationship with, like a team member, a business partner, a romantic partner, a family member, or a friend, you need to say something.
Say it sooner than later. Say it when it’s still a molehill. Don’t give it a chance to grow into a mountain.
And if it is a violation of your values you definitely need to address it on the first violation. Directly. Clearly. Respectfully.
When is it OK to keep quiet? If it’s someone you’re never going to deal with again, maybe you don’t say anything.
Other than that, say something. It’s simple, it just doesn’t always feel easy.