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Time to be heard

Do you find yourself agreeing with others to keep the peace? Or mulling over a conversation and regretting the things you didn’t say? For ‘easy-going’ Ellen Tout, enough was enough – she wanted to start saying how she truly felt

Being the accommodating friend and colleague has always garnered me praise: a good listener, rarely rocks the boat and happy to go along with the majority. But, recently, I’ve found I want to shrug off that mantle and speak up for myself.

In my friendship group, for example, a few people don’t speak to each other at points and often moan to me about the others. I feel deflated and frustrated by the situation but, instead of telling them, I listen to each person and try to keep the peace. I know it’s not the best way to solve matters in the long term, but I also don’t want to make things worse.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda!

Often, after a conversation, I reflect on what I should have said but, in the moment, I say nothing. What’s stopping me? Mostly, I worry about being misunderstood or creating conflict, so I stay silent, with what I want to say running through my head. I talk to psychotherapist Fe Robinson to examine this. She urges me to explore my feelings around clashing with someone. What result do I want? What do I need in the moment to achieve this? Why do I think it’s easier to avoid arguments than to disagree? What’s at risk if I just say what’s on my mind?

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