“We Need to Talk”

As per my last post, I started thinking1. The reason that “we need to talk” creates such a sense of foreboding in the person listening is because it signifies a change in the conversation. Because, even if you’ve been talking for 8 hours straight, you can still say that phrase with but the subtlest of irony. No, the reason it makes us all cringe is that it means that the person saying it needs to discuss something with you in the much more serious meta-conversational level. Had the prior conversation been serious in the necessary way, the thing that needed to be discussed would have been, but it wasn’t. So the person says “WNTT” wanting to shift conversational gears as quickly and certainly as possible, only, since those gears are obviously not smooth enough to shift on their own, it creates a lurch for all involved.

It’s forcing you to leave the land of blissful denial2 for an uncertain land. Thus, you feel terrible for those few seconds before you start the actual meta-conversation.

So, I, personally, will avoid saying that phrase and will that talking to me exercise all conversational gears equally. Let me know if I fail terribly.

  1. keep it up, Pixel! []
  2. which is detrimental for any relationship as I might discuss in the future []


  1. Hmmm…

    Sometimes it is necessary to talk, though… and sometimes it is hard to bring up a topic in the normal flow of a conversation. For instance:

    Him: So I was waiting at a red light the other day and some idiot almost backed into me.
    Her: Ah… moron… speaking of morons, I slept with your best friend last night.

    Do you see how a simple “We need to talk” could have assisted in preparing the other for the impending conversation? Since it’s been programmed into us that “WNTT” is a prelude to a more serious subject matter, at times, it’s merciful to insert the phrase.

    I think any real relationship will “need to talk” every now and then. Hopefully not very often, but enough. Personally, I’ve never been in such a relationship, so I don’t fully understand the gravity of the phrase.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *