It’s Easier Not To

Published: May 15, 2014

Someone said or did something that hurt your feelings. Should you say something? It’s easier not to. Your most trusted teammate wasn’t listening when you took the risk to expose your emotions. Do you let him know it made you feel like a low priority? It’s easier not to.

It’s a rare day when someone who matters to you doesn’t say or do something that rubs you the wrong way.  Like most of us, you let it go. Inevitably, the same sin or one of its relatives happens again a week or a month or a year later. No big deal, right?

Wrong. What you tolerate you sanction.

Healthy relationships call timeouts. When you catch things early, they never get the chance to send down roots. Early detection enables early intervention. Early intervention prevents pathology.

Embrace the pain of initiating crucial conversations. It is useful. Sacrifice the temporary comfort of avoidance for the long-term gain of moving your connections to a higher level of intimacy and trust. It’s easier not to but the consequences of avoiding the tough conversations are equivalent to begging for dysfunction.

It’s now or later. Healthy teams choose now.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.