Do you have some tough conversations you are avoiding with someone — your paramour, colleague, employee, employer?
Here are 8 tips for sharing that difficult conversation sooner — so you can have a better feeling in your belly sooner.
1. Memorize the following: “It’s better to have that difficult conversation now, rather than have to deal with even more difficult problems later.” Or…a fun way to remember this: “It’s wise to kill those relationship monsters while they’re still mini monsters rather than huge monsters.”
2. Figure out how long it will take to have this conversation. Is it a mere ten minutes? A longer thirty minutes? If it’s a mere ten minutes, then come on! Make that call ASAP. If it’s longer — and needs to be done in person — make that call ASAP to arrange the conversation for sometime in the next 48 hours. If the conversation is better done in person, be certain you’re in a location where you can talk openly, without worrying people are eavesdropping.
3. Explain the benefit of talking up front. Admit that talking about a difficult subject can be uncomfortable, but you’d rather have a difficult, loving, healthy conversation now – instead of a decaying, untruthful, unhealthy relationship later. You can also specifically tell the person how much you value your relationship — and that’s why you are committed to speaking truthfully. For example you can say: “I am sorry I have not communicated this until now — but I want to tell you how I feel about (fill in the blank).” Or.. “When I did (fill in the blank) or you did (fill in the blank) what it meant to me was (fill in the blank).” Or… “I have been hiding from asking you about (fill in the blank) — or telling you the truth about (fill in the blank) because I am afraid if I bring it up you will think/feel (fill in the blank).”
4. Be specific. Psychologists agree it’s best to limit your talk to the one specific recent event that has been bugging you and ignore any past offenses.
5. Start sentences with “I,” not “you.” The goal: Own your feelings; don’t slander the other person.
6.If you’re planning to open up about a secret, ask yourself why you’ve been hiding what you’ve been hiding. Indeed, it might help if you to talk more honestly with yourself first, before you even talk with this person.
7. Set time blocks. Alternate 3-5-minute time blocks of “Expression Non-Interruptus” until you both feel you’ve been heard and understood.
8. End on a positive note. Create an upside to talking so that you and the other person will want to talk openly again in the future, should the need arise. Close the conversation by listing all the positive things you learned from communicating. Also be sure to talk out loud about the specific new action steps you both will try to now do — so you don’t have “Problem Redundus” — where you keep re- experiencing the same problems again and again.
I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read this essay. Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these inspirational essays – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! xo Karen
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.
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