Life & Work

How to Have a Difficult Conversation

How to Have a Difficult Conversation | Loren's World

Nothing haunts us like the things we don't say. Whether with a friend, spouse, or family member, if there's something on our minds and we don't speak up about it, sooner or later, those withheld emotions will bubble up to the surface and inevitably erupt in toxic words. Before you let your emotions get the better of you, do yourself a favor and have that conversation. If you don't, it will only eat you up inside. Here's a simple guide to having that conversation you know you need to have but are too afraid to say so.

How to Have a Difficult Conversation | Loren's World

How to Have a Difficult Conversation

  • Be clear about what you're feeling - Before even approaching the individual, be honest with yourself and think about what you're feeling and why. Are you feeling ignored? Are you upset about being slighted? Are you simply feeling left out? Whatever the case, be clear and honest with yourself before broaching the subject with that other person.
  • Know what you want the results to be - Be clear about what you hope to get out of the conversation. A good target could be simply to be heard and understood by that individual. This doesn't mean you have to impose your view on someone else or that you have to be right. It just means you want to speak clearly and honestly about your feelings and have them understand your side.
  • Speak up - Ask the other person if they're available to chat with you. Let them know you have some things on your mind you'd like to talk about. If there's tension, chances are they won't be surprised you mentioned it.
  • Don't jump to conclusions - Once this conversation happens, speak only about your experience - don't accuse the other person of doing things you only think they've done. If someone has hurt your feelings, they may not have been aware of it nor done it intentionally. Give them the benefit of the doubt and speak only from your perspective. Say something like, "I felt hurt when...." or "I felt angry because...."
  • Really listen - Conversation is a two-way street. Allow the other person to speak. Take turns saying what's on your minds and allow room to respect the other person's point of view. Really listen to what they're saying rather than shutting off when they try to explain their side.
  • Cool off - If things get heated, take a second to step away and cool off before you both say things you'll regret. Take a break, if necessary. Above all else, respect each other and do your best to not fling accusations or call each other hurtful names.
  • Sum it up - If you've both said what needs to be said, you can begin to move on and agree to some form of resolution for the future. Both of you should be happy with the resolution in order for it to work. If you can't come to an agreement immediately, agree to disagree until you can find a solution. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is bring up the topic and allow time to find the best response.

How do you handle awkward conversations? Do you have tips on how to diffuse a difficult situation? Whatever you do, remember to not bottle it up!