How To: Have Difficult Conversations
Let's be real, not everyone is cut out to have difficult conversations.
It takes practice and the active choice to overcome the fear of having that conversation.
Through my 23 years, I've discovered when to have a difficult conversation, and how to have it so the other person doesn't feel like they are being cornered by you.
When should you have difficult conversations?
when you're hurting
When you are in pain, the kind of pain where your heart physically hurts, and your brain just constantly wanders towards that person wondering what if, that's when you should think about broaching that conversation.
when you know that's what the other person needs to hear
Sometimes it isn't about us. Sometimes it's about letting the other person hear what they need to hear to get out of their own bonds. But even then, it is still going to be hard to have that conversation, because that conversation will be more advice centric than about feelings.
when you want to let go but you need closure
I've had several friendships in my life where I just reached my breaking point, where I realized that I could no longer emotionally or mentally be their friend anymore. But I needed closure. I needed to understand that persons actions, or lack thereof, and have them understand why I was leaving earlier on than later.
How to have difficult conversations
give the other person a heads up
I hate it when people corner me into having a difficult conversation, so now, I always make it a point of let the person know ahead of time that I want this conversation, that it might make both of us cry, and that it will be painful to have. But I think that heads up is still better than having the other person go into the conversation blind. It's common courtesy.
be emotionally and mentally prepared for any range of responses
Unless you're psychic, you don't know what may come out of their mouths. You might get calm and collected, or you might get angry and incredulous. Either way, just be fully prepared that the conversation can go either way.
stay calm, collected, and somewhat unbiased
Whether or not you are the one initiating the difficult conversation, the most important thing you can do during the conversation is to remain calm and unbiased. We can let our emotions get the better of us during these kinds of conversations, but if you remain cool and unbiased, it can turn into a very productive and informative conversation. Just remember what you intend to get out of it.
don't take anything said personally
Once they are said in that conversation, don't let it effect your relationship with the person, unless the intention was to have that conversation be a good bye. When we are being fully honest in front of another person, we can say hurtful things, even if we were calm and did not mean it. Try not to let what is said effect you afterwards.
don't leave the conversation until both parties have said everything they wanted to say
These conversations can't and shouldn't be put on pause. Reason is that if it's put on pause, people may forget what was previous said. People may also chicken out, and not say what they wanted to say, which may leave unresolved feelings left in limbo.
This tip means that when you intend on having that conversation, make sure you allot almost unlimited time to the conversation. Don't put a timer on it.
after, move on
Assuming you've said everything you wanted to say, now it's time to move on. Let go of all those emotions that had been pent up, and just continue on with your life. You deserve it.
Have you ever had a difficult conversation? What was that experience like?