Lessons in conversation: Awkward conversation

It was an incredible commute in the morning – for those of you familiar with Bangalore traffic, you know what I mean. Unannounced road closure had me sitting in the car for over 45 minutes with a distance of 15 feet covered in that time. With nothing else to do, I tuned into one of my favorite radio stations – a welcome respite!

The station was running a campaign for AIDS awareness under the theme “Birds and Bees” where they had invited a few people on the show to talk about a reasonably taboo topic – safe sex. What was interesting is that they had a mother-daughter duo on air with the topic “awkward conversations”. The segment aired for about 10 minutes with a very interesting conversation that ensued between the two. As the episode ended, I began to recount the number of times I shied away from presumably awkward conversations.

As generations evolve, topics that were once considered taboo, no longer are. In a country like India and other parts of the Eastern world, any topic that challenged conventional wisdom around human relationships such as Sex, Live-in relationships,  etc., have most often made conversations awkward. In today’s hyper-connected world, nothing is taboo – information is everywhere and can be accessed. It is not always the younger generation that struggles with awkward conversations; it is the middle and older generation too. The awkwardness of the conversation stems from social and experiential conditioning of the prior generations – something we cannot live in denial about.

My key takeaway from the radio show and ensuing thoughts – No conversation is awkward until we make them so. We may not be comfortable engaging on topics that are unconventional, but that is no reason to shy away from them. Conversation always evokes curiosity, exchange of thoughts and experiences and in a lot of cases – learning. So, keep those conversations going!

As a note, I am sure some of you may have wondered about the choice of picture for this post – guess what, it was intended to create some awkwardness. If you are actually reading this line – you have progressed in the journey of holding awkward conversations; given that you looked beyond the picture to seek the intent.

Until next time,  tune in to our podcasts that will explore the facets of this blog and much more.

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