I had just gotten off the phone with a friend of mine after an incredibly deep and tough conversation. I was a listening participant throughout most of the conversation, until, well, I started to offer some observations which in turn translated into my wanting to offer some solutions. This was not unwanted advice. My friend did ask me what I thought. Or so I thought.

I preface this by saying that I went into this conversation with trepidation as it would either go two ways given my friends frame of mind; I was either full of shit, having no idea what I was talking about, or, I made perfect sense. It was a toss of the coin. Ah hell, I dove in.

First mistake …

There were a number of factors that were not in my favour. The need for my friend to purge just as soon as I said; “hello” when I answered the phone. And the fact that we started in a negative deep space, and by that, I mean, there was not going to be any response, not even silence, that was going to cut it. I had nowhere to go. Even if I hung up, I was going to be the smuck.

Now, in hindsight it would have been a really great idea to pause the conversation and chat at another time. I was not prepared for battle, and that’s exactly what my friend was going for. Not a battle with me, but a need to convey what I heard to be the underpinning of the frustrations and fear of living during these COVID-19 endless days of uncertainty.

I get it, we started from a negative deep place for a reason. My friend needed to vent; no, I mean SCREAM. I thought; “Ah yes, this is the effect of COVID-19” – we’re all going mad. This wasn’t my imagination, I had been seeing the effects of this virus escalate over the past many weeks, and as temperatures rise, so does our wits end. There’s no place for us to hide – from ourselves. 

You know you’re in deep negative conversation when your friend decides that they are sick of talking about themselves and then say; “You know what your problem is ….? ” I thought, Oh, oh, this just took a turn for the worse.

Understanding where my friend was coming from, I stuck it out.

Second mistake …

I was a willing/unwilling participant in this ‘conversation’ we were having. For everything I have read throughout the years where ‘they’ say; “Don’t take it personally,” guess what, I did. You do. As feeling human beings, you can understand, be compassionate, empathize all you want until someone says; “You know what your problem is …?” 

The only way I was going to diffuse this conversation was to bring some laughter into it, and even then, THAT was risky. What the hell, I started to laugh. My friend did too. I was grateful (and relieved).

My intention was to bring the conversation to a positive deep place. Still having the tough conversation, and yet not coming from a place of blame, shame, and all the words that do not serve anyone. More importantly I knew my friend would regret saying them. 

I’m not able to say that we ended our conversation from a place of calm, however we did address how we would better approach this kind of conversation in the future. It was important for me to say that although I was understanding of where my friend was coming from, and the frustrations that ensued, I was not ok with a personal attack that really had nothing to do with how my friend was feeling at the time.

During times of additional stress, uncertainty, fear and a general feeling of worry, I feel it’s helpful to be cognizant of how we want to have and approach conversations. When we’re involved in deep conversations, we should consider approaching it from a positive rather than a negative mindset.

The choice is yours.


  • Amy Goldberg

    Founder + CEO @ Push Back [Action, Growth, Engagement Strategist, Writer], International Speaker, Author, Producer [Creative Entrepreneur]

    Push Back

    Amy Goldberg is a creative entrepreneur + founder + CEO of Push Back; 'creating things to inspire people.' Often you need to push back to push forward. Amy's book BE YOUR TRUTH shows people how to identify, defeat, and deconstruct the inner barriers preventing us from taking decisive action. Her work includes creative producing, action, growth & connection strategy, business building, well-being advocating and writing. She works with several business sectors and thrives where she can share how to rethink and redefine the way business is run, and how one can lead a vibrant and optimistic life.