Love Letters to Humans (no. 62) — on Confrontation

Relational joy practice: Confrontation

The act of facing one another and “putting our heads together.”


Origins: com (together) + frontem (forehead)

In Medieval Latin, to confront meant “to adjoin” and “to assign limits.” In Middle French, it meant “to stand in front of.”

It tickles the glitter out of me that this word captures the essence of communicating and negotiating loving boundaries. Assigning limits is a relational act, one made easier—not harder—when we communicate with compassionate clarity and invite others to honor our boundaries as a way of strengthening our care, commitment, and fondness for one another.

Confrontation in not accusation… unless it is. Confrontation is not attack… although it can be if we’re unskilled, or if we want it to be. Confrontation is not conflict… although it can be a catalyst for or resolution to it. And confrontation is not without risk.

Confrontation is, quite literally, facing one another and then—in the best outcomes—facing something together. It is a way through tension and conflict and can be a way back to harmony and joyful connection in our most important relationships.


What is the conversation you know you need to have? What false peace is eroding the foundations of your most important relationships as you avoid confrontation?

What joyful connection could be available when you invite someone else to confront that awkward, painful, or uncomfortable thing *with* you?


Relationship is. Right relationship nourishes.