changingminds.org

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

Avoiding

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Elements of the Conversation > Avoiding

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

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:

  • General social taboo topics such as sex, religion and politics.
  • Subjects that may evoke uncomfortable feelings, such as harm to children or animals.
  • Criticism of other people, particularly those present.
  • Subjects and information that would make the speaker appear weak or bad.

Avoidance may done in several ways, such as:

  • Simply not talking about unwanted subjects.
  • Not replying to questions about the unwanted subject.
  • Changing the topic when others talk about unwanted subjects.
  • Specific requests not to talk about subjects. These may be made before the conversation or when someone brings up the subject.
  • Giving vague answers that avoid particularly embarrassing detail.
  • Playing down the importance or significance of awkward detail.

Example

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.

Discussion

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.

See also

Excluding, Coping Mechanisms

 

Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font | Translate |

 

You can buy books here

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book


Look inside

 

Please help and share:

 

Quick links

Disciplines

* Argument
* Brand management
* Change Management
* Coaching
* Communication
* Counseling
* Game Design
* Human Resources
* Job-finding
* Leadership
* Marketing
* Politics
* Propaganda
* Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
* Sociology
* Storytelling
* Teaching
* Warfare
* Workplace design

Techniques

* Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
* Conditioning
* Conversation
* Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
* Happiness
* Hypnotism
* Interrogation
* Language
* Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
* Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
* Questioning
* Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
* Self-development
* Sequential requests
* Storytelling
* Stress Management
* Tipping
* Using humor
* Willpower

Principles

* Principles

Explanations

* Behaviors
* Beliefs
* Brain stuff
* Conditioning
* Coping Mechanisms
* Critical Theory
* Culture
* Decisions
* Emotions
* Evolution
* Gender
* Games
* Groups
* Habit
* Identity
* Learning
* Meaning
* Memory
* Motivation
* Models
* Needs
* Personality
* Power
* Preferences
* Research
* Relationships
* SIFT Model
* Social Research
* Stress
* Trust
* Values

Theories

* Alphabetic list
* Theory types

And

About
Guest Articles
Blog!
Books
Changes
Contact
Guestbook
Quotes
Students
Webmasters

 

| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

© Changing Works 2002-
Massive Content — Maximum Speed