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When You 'Need to Talk' Those Difficult Conversations
It is a common occurrence to come across a plethora of articles on the internet, specifically on Google, that deal with the topic of "difficult conversations". These types of conversations can be challenging to have, as they often require us to step out of our comfort zones and approach uncomfortable topics. However, avoiding such conversations or leaving issues unresolved can lead to a wide range of negative emotions, such as resentment, blame, withdrawal, unfulfillment, and disempowerment. In this article, our aim is to provide you with some helpful strategies that can assist you in being brave and approaching these conversations with a plan
Research has shown that having personal conversations can be an excellent way to build connections and improve well-being. If you approach the conversation with a genuine interest and a desire to understand the other person's perspective, you can foster connection instead of creating barriers in your relationship. Before starting the conversation, it is crucial to choose a time when you are calm and focused. Sensitive topics should be avoided at the beginning or end of the day when you are tired. It is advisable to schedule a time that works for both parties to ensure that everyone involved can participate in the conversation.
Being clear about the purpose of the conversation and what you want to achieve is essential. It is also important to consider areas where you are willing to compromise and collaborate. Agreeing that there is a problem and that both parties are willing to explore a solution can be a significant first step towards resolving a difficult conversation. Additionally, it is recommended to think about how you will have the conversation and how the other person may react. If you can predict their response, you can plan your approach accordingly. If you want to explain your condition, arm yourself with the latest evidence and resources to support your position.
It is important to remember that we all have different backgrounds, upbringings, values, and experiences, which affect how we communicate and react. Therefore, it is important to keep an open mind and be curious. Asking questions is the best way to understand someone else's perspective. It is also essential to check your preconceived ideas and assumptions at the door and approach the conversation with a clean slate. State what you want and need clearly and kindly, and do so in a non-judgmental manner.
Lastly, it is crucial to bring a good attitude and the right mindset to the conversation. Be calm, clear, and helpful. Remember that having this conversation, no matter how difficult, can improve your relationship. Seek mutual respect and shared vulnerability, as ultimately, we all want to be loved and safe, and to have our loved ones feel the same. By following these strategies, you can approach difficult conversations with confidence and the knowledge that you are doing your best to foster positive relationships.
Some other responses that might buy you a little time to think and gain more clarity on their POV include, “That’s interesting, tell me more” or “That’s interesting, why would you say that/ do that/ ask that?”. Then, before moving on, clarify and check in that you have understood their perspective. When engaging in a difficult conversation with someone about their pain, it is crucial to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. One effective way to demonstrate this is by paraphrasing their statements and asking for confirmation that your interpretation is accurate. It is important to provide them with a safe space to express their emotions freely without interruption, and to acknowledge that tears are a natural response to emotional pain. In the event that the conversation becomes heated or difficult to navigate, it is best to take a deep breath and maintain a calm demeanor. It is perfectly acceptable to take a break and revisit the conversation at a later time. When concluding the discussion, it is advisable to establish an actionable plan with specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. Follow up with transparency and authenticity, and remain open to revisiting the conversation as necessary. While these conversations can be challenging, they have the potential to bring us closer to those we care about most. It may be helpful to ask for assistance or make notes beforehand to prepare yourself for the discussion.
Have you had a difficult conversation recently? What worked? What didn't? Do you have some expert tips to share? Let us know what works for you in our Facebook Community.