The Phases of Discussion for Navigating Conversations

phases of discussion
please note this image needs an update to reflect current refinements in the phases of discussion.

Discussing Feelings and Thoughts in Pairs

Please standby as I attempt to somewhat systematize the phases of discussion below.  For the purposes of our work today, we will not include speeches, monologs, ranting, judging, or other various forms of one-sided communication.

The Phases of Discussion

I want to know what you think about the phases of discussion identified below. Can you think of one I left out our overlooked? Perhaps you have an opinion or advice about how I could approach this. Either, way I want to know what you think about the information presented below. If you have time, Contact Me, after you read it.

Meeting and Greeting – Each phase deserves mention here, as I build this list to a comprehensive catalog.  We don’t leave out salutations, which set the tone for the discussion to follow.  You might shake hands, embrace, or even kiss the other person depending on how you know them.

Arguing and Negotiating – You know these well, depending on how actively you enforce your personal boundaries and pursue goals. If you can learn to turn arguments into negotiating, you’ll move towards accordance with people.  When negotiating goes South, or gets drawn out into a lengthy process, guard against arguments by taking a short break to get some fresh air.

Conversation and Sharing – Conversational tone means light-hearted.  If people start to ‘click’ in a conversation, it may take the tone of agreement or accordance.  You can identify conversation by elevated attention to the details, where the outside world seems to give way to the participants’ dialogue. A conversation could lead to sharing, where both parties describe their familiarity with a shared topic.  Conversely, if the topic broaches sensitive subject matter for either friend, a conversation could trigger an argument or end abruptly.

Cooperation and Logistics –  When you build some repertoire with another, you may end up cooperating to achieve a mutual goal. Even meeting somewhere for coffee, requires logistics to plan, depart, and arrive on time.   The tone of discussion can vary depending on the circumstance.  Look for a solid pattern of confirmation, reflection, and trust as presage toward efficient cooperation.  Logistics include all the discussions related to the details of everyday living.  Life’s necessities often require you to meet and exchange logistical information.

Criticizing and Reviewing

Teasing and Antagonizing

Berating and Scolding

Silly Talk and Funny Voices – Who wants to stay serious all of the time?  Our private discussions often involve some amount of goofing around, and what better way to joke than with a thick and terribly inaccurate Russian accent? Or maybe you just want to have a mouth-farting choir with your best friend on a long car ride. Whatever the occasion, silly talk and funny voices help lighten the mood, and can relieve pent up emotions.  Cohorts will roll their eyes, when you can’t stop talking that way later in more public settings.

Flirting and Sharing Affections – We could just refer to this as cozy discussions.  Easy to identify by a softer tone and diminished volume.  Kissing during this phase of discussion will feel a bit different than kissing during a greeting.  Don’t worry you still have plenty of ways to fowl this up, if you decide to keep talking.  Mistakes here can do serious damage, or they might just get laughed off, as the herculean force of intimacy tends to dwarf whatever you just mentioned.

Quick Tips for Optimizing Discussions:

  1. Learn to recognize your current phase.  Say it out loud, if you don’t mind stating the obvious: “This feels like debating,” or “I feel flirtatious.”
  2. Learn to recognize when the discussion starts to turn.  If you can sense moving from one phase to another, you can often have some idea where things might head conversationally.
  3. Take your time, learn to enjoy each phase thoroughly and you won’t have to worry about controlling volatility at extremes.

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