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The Conversation Killer

Tags:  Negative behavior

It should come as no surprise that keeping your work and home life separate is a good thing. You don't want the problems from home seeping in and interrupting your ability to focus on your job. On the other hand, you don't want to take your work issues home with you so they can whittle away at your personal life.

Consider this from Dr. Ellen. ""Imagine that you have two glasses of water in front of you. One is clear and represents your personal life and the other is cloudy and represents your professional life. Why would you want to mix the dirty water with the clear, clean water? All you would end up with is two glasses of cloudy, dirty water.""

Yes, it's often tough separating your work and home life, especially since they are each such a big part of who you are. However, it's important to do just that. Otherwise you might end up causing problems for yourself.

And to increase your chances of dealing with the situation better, follow these Guideposts:

1. Negativity

No matter how great you are at your job, if at the end of the day you come home tired and beat, your family winds up getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Instead of bringing home your bad or negative mood, make a conscious effort to be positive.

Consider the fact that your family is what makes going to work worthwhile. Without their love and support, your home life would be empty. You have a choice about how you want to behave or interact with your family. Make a conscious choice to interact in a positive, open manner.

2. Being stuck in the past

Remember the saying, ""let bygones be bygones."" Now is the time to take it to heart. Drudging up old slights and wounds or reflecting on how bad something once was won't help you move forward with decisions today.

Instead of looking for past negative reasons to avoid a situation, look for current positive reasons to select an alternative.

3. Blaming the other person

Finger pointing gets you nowhere except into an argument. There are two people in this discussion, so be willing to compromise and take ownership of your feelings.

That means having a discussion without blaming the other person for how they feel, how you feel, why things have gone wrong in the past, or for anything else. Deal with the current situation without bias.

4. Asking questions, gaining understanding

By taking the time to talk through the situation, asking questions and gaining an understanding of each other's point of view, you can come to see where you share similar ideas or where compromises can be made.

Someone getting their way does not necessarily mean someone else NOT getting theirs. It's just a matter of identifying commonalities and differences in order to negotiate a win-win solution.


  • Negativity pre-determines the outcome of the conversation;
  • Instead of reflecting on the past, look to the future;
  • Finding out the other person's perspective works better than personally attacking them.

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