How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
There is much in conversations that could be said but which is in practice avoided by one or all people involved.
Things that are typically avoided include:
Avoidance may done in several ways, such as:
Er, I'd rather not talk about that now.
Actually, what is more important is...
That's just a storm in teacup. I wouldn't bother with that if I were you.
We all seek in conversation to achieve certain goals, whether these are specific aims or just to enjoy interaction with others. There are things that may be said that will prevent these goals being achieved, and which we hence will want to avoid.
Avoidance is a specific form of coping. Many of life's problems were identified by Sigmund Freud and his successors, and avoidance by various means is one of these. There are also a whole range of similar avoidance mechanisms where the underlying approach is to avoid things which lead to negative emotions.
Talking about subjects that will distress others can harm the relationship and make them wonder why this is being said, possibly leading to acrimonious argument.
Sometimes talking about difficult topics is necessary, for example 'naming the dead elephant in the middle of the table', where everyone is avoiding a subject that needs to be brought up and resolved. Talking about things that others are trying to avoid can be difficult and requires both empathy and courage to address.