I am comfortable with nuance. It's gentle, considerate, subtle. Don't get me wrong, I have explorer tendencies and love difference, even glaring difference. It can be exciting, adventurous, fun. On the other hand – the darker side – glaring difference can be loud, obnoxious, always looking for a fight.
Things don't have to be perfectly black and white for me to appreciate the differences and embrace the similarities. Then it happened. What seemed like nuance to me suddenly became a painfully, large difference to someone else. What's up with that? How can our contexts be so far apart? As the conversation quickly took a turn, down what rapidly appeared to be a dark alley, I couldn't help think, "This is really not a big deal". Oh, did that just come out of my mouth? And we're off – verbal boxing gloves in place – I'd just stupidly made that gap in our differences even wider.
How do we turn this around? How can we stop and do a mini-rewind? In the midst of trying to illuminate our common points of connection, using words like semantics and, well, nuance, I stopped. I have been doing that a lot lately. I took a deep breath and said I’m sorry. Because really, when you come to think of it, I never wanted this person to feel angry or upset with me or our conversation. In a moment of clarity I realized they just needed to be heard and understood. Isn’t that what I wanted too? This was our common ground. Now that’s something to talk about.