6 tips to ease your way into having a difficult conversation

Published on: 19 July 2022, 13:09 pm IST

Communication is key to all relationships, and open, honest communication is the only way to ease into a difficult conversation.

difficult conversation
Difficult conversations are difficult for a reason. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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If you are getting ready to talk to a family member about some uncomfortable topic and it’s causing you anxiety or you cannot move on unless you have told your friend that she/he might hurt you? Then, you should know that all relationships undergo conflicts and contrary to popular beliefs that people cause them, conflicts are mostly caused due to interaction effects.

To say the least, communication is key to all relationships, and open, honest communication is the only way to ease into a difficult conversation. Having a mature and open talk is challenging and uncomfortable for everyone. It can lead to simmering resentment in some cases. However, not being open about your feelings and issues are far more damaging to the relationship in the long run. It is one thing to let go of inconsequential things in a relationship, but it is another thing to not communicate about necessary things.

Way to ease your way into having a difficult conversation

Here are 6 key points to help you a healthier conversation:

1. Having a non-blaming communication

Most of us get caught up trying to make our point to the other person while having a conversation. Everyone wants to think they are right and the problem is with the other person. The main topic of discussion tends to get discarded while having a heated exchange. In such cases, being aware of how you are putting your views across is essential. It might be that instead of stating what bothers you, the other person feels as if they are being attacked. Use ‘I’ more than ‘you’. For example, ‘I feel ‘x’ when you do ‘y’. This allows your partner to see your point of view without feeling like they’re being attacked.

2. Make sure you listen

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Be with people who give you comfort. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The most difficult part of having any conversation is listening. Keeping quiet is not the same as listening, it is when you hear your partner and respond to what they’re trying to say. It follows with a heartfelt apology or a corrective step in your actions. Listen without making mental notes on how to respond to your partner and be sincere in your follow-up steps.

3. Look at issues from their point of view

Job stress, financial loss, loss of motivation, and low self-picture, all these can lead your loved one to behave in a certain way. It is possible that they meant something else, but you misunderstood their intent. It could be that they’re behaving a certain way because of issues that are going on in their lives or their actions might be simply triggered by yours. Always look at things from their perspective before concluding.

Also, read: 7 things to know about trauma before helping someone overcome it

4. Take a step back if things get heated

It is normal for things to get heated when you are having a discussion. You or the other person might get defensive too. It is likely that after listening to each other, you might catch yourself using ‘but’ to put forth your thoughts too. You might even get angry, especially when there is a grain of truth in what they’re saying. If things get uncomfortable, take a break, and go for a walk till either person cools down. When things return to normal, you may try to have the conversation again.

5. Accept criticism

self talk
Indulge in positive self-talk to overcome self-criticism. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When we are given feedback or criticized, our first response might be to jump to our defenses. It is easy to do that and blame the other person. Some people go to extensive lengths to prove they are right, however, to have a healthy conversation, you need to be willing to accept criticism where needed.

6. It’s not about victory, it’s about having a healthy relationship

While having difficult conversations, most people make the mistake of trying to get the last word in. This can stretch the conversation and make an already tense situation hostile. It doesn’t matter who ‘wins’ this conversation; you will have plenty more. What matters is how committed you are to making the relationship healthier. Keeping scores of what your partner said when is extremely unhealthy. A mature, respectful relationship is letting go of minor annoyances, having healthy conversations, and following them up with action.

Sheetal Shaparia Sheetal Shaparia

Sheetal Shaparia is a Life Coach who helps people in terms of love, money, career, happiness and experience the peace of knowing the right path to travel in life.

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