Conversations often flow naturally from one topic to the next. And, generally speaking, this helps to keep it engaging and interesting. But this approach is not always helpful when we’re trying to sort through the many complex problems of life and relationships. Here it’s typically best to have one conversation at a time.

This is similar to what we learned in math class when trying to solve a problem with multiple variables. We solve for X before trying to solve for Y. Both are needed, but each in their own turn.

For instance, a conversation about where we spend our vacation is likely also connected to finances, and possibly to in-laws and work commitments as well.

And while each is important, it’s difficult to have a productive conversation and gain any clarity when we attempt to address all the issues at the same time.

Giving each the attention it deserves allows us to see clearer our best path forward.

To be sure, this takes a lot of time and patience to sort through.

For example, we might realize other conversations are needed before we’re able to continue our initial conversation.

It’s hard to plan a vacation if we don’t first know our budgetBut after we have figured out our budget, it’s much easier now to simply focus on vacation planning.

Whether at home or at work or in addressing the complexities of social policies, it’s helpful to tease out our conversations and have one at a time.

We invite much frustration and allow ourselves to stay stuck when we try to address everything at once.

In the end, when tackling the many problems of life and relationships, learn the wisdom of having one conversation at a time. This creates the space needed to take meaningful steps forward.

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