Difficult conversations are rarely enjoyed but almost always necessary. This could be a conversation about and the dissolution of a marriage, a family member’s move to a nursing home, dealing with money problems or a drug addiction. If you need to have a difficult conversation with someone you love, read on to discover some useful advice that will help you out.
AGREE ON COMMON GOALS
One of the most important things to do when having a difficult conversation with someone you love is to establish some common goals. The outcome will be much more satisfying if all involved parties decide on the results that would be acceptable for them. Of course, this can be a lot easier said than done in some circumstances. If someone you love has an unhealthy addiction to alcohol, you can all agree that the end goal is to fight this addiction. You can agree on this, and then you can discuss the best approach, i.e. alcohol rehab centers and so on. However, if you want to get a divorce and your partner doesn’t, coming to a common goal is something that can take up the bulk of your discussion. In that case, the end goal could focus on the best health and well-being of children that the couple share.
FORGET THE “BUT…”
Another way to make difficult conversations a bit easier is to leave ‘but’ sentences out of it. This is often used as a way to soften the blow, as you give a bit of good news after you have delivered the bad news. When someone says the word ‘but’ we come to expect something bad after it, which doesn’t really have the impact that is desired. When possible, focus on the facts instead of trying to sugar coat the truth.
PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES
When you are having a difficult conversation, you need to remember how the other person is going to be feeling. After all, it is likely that the conversation you are having is going to have a massive impact on them. If it was something that would be easy to discuss, it wouldn’t be qualified as a difficult conversation. If you put yourself in the other person’s shoes, this will help you to come to a resolution that is suitable for everyone.
Last but not least, you need to make sure that you actually listen when you are having the difficult conversation. This means that you listen and fully digest to understand what the person is saying. This does not mean that you should simply listen so you can find your opportunity to speak. Again, this is easier said than done. Remember the focus should be to listen and breathe and not to respond right away.
All in all, there is no denying that difficult conversations can be hard to approach. However, if you follow the advice that has been provided above, you can make sure you are prepared for the conversation and that you approach it in the right manner. Diving right in with little thought is certainly one of the worst things you can do.
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I really appreciate this. Communication is something I really value but I feel like most people aren’t willing to have hard conversations. I like your point about leaving out the “but”. I hadn’t thought of that before.
Leaving the “but” out of the conversation is often easier said than done. Sometimes you have to BITE YOUR TONGUE!!