Communication is a skill, whether the conversations are easy or difficult. Difficult conversations might be the scariest of all.
Talking about difficult subjects with people can be scary, awkward, or difficult. It’s a lot easier when you want to share happy feelings. It can be a challenge when you’re struggling to find the right words because you want to talk about tough subjects. Check out these tips to have difficult conversations.
Having a difficult conversation is hard work. It can take some courage to face these situations head-on. Avoiding problems can lead to anger, frustration, stress, or anxiety. Think about how you will feel after you have the conversation you might be dreading. Having situations handled and not hanging over your head can be freeing.
Check out these 5 tips to have difficult conversations.
1. Validate Your Feelings
For some people, it’s hard to share feelings because we think they are not worthy, or valid. Maybe they are not important enough to trouble someone with. Validate yourself here. No matter how small, your feelings, and thoughts matter. You have the right to assertively communicate with people about things that matter to you.
2. Be Assertive
What Is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is a skill that means demonstrating healthy confidence where you state your rights and stand up for yourself in a respectful manner. You are taking care of yourself by looking out for yourself.
Steps To Being Assertive
- Ask for you want or need respectfully
- It is ok to say “No”
- Speak your mind
- Remember that you are not responsible for the other party’s response
- You have a right to your feelings
- Use “I” statements when speaking
- Don’t apologize for your feelings or needs.
3. Practice For Tough Conversations
If expression of your feelings is not something you have done often it may feel awkward, but practicing helps you get better at it. Take it in small steps a little at a time. The more you rehearse how you would like to express yourself in these moments the easier it will be.
4. Timing Is Everything
Check-in with the other party in advance. Just because you are ready to talk does not mean it is the right moment in time for who you are about to talk with. Check with them first and arrange to talk at a time that works for both of you.
5. Listen To Everyone In The Conversation
Difficult conversations are not one-sided. Part of sharing with people is listening. Be a good listener and keep an open mind for the opinions and ideas of those you talk to. It can be hard depending on the emotion of the conversation. Use control and restraint and actually hear those you are speaking with. Your communication will be enhanced.
Talking about your problems can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. Getting comfortable with difficult conversations comes from practice. Learning to communicate assertively helps make these situations far less stressful.
Facing things head-on is part of self-mastery. It is comforting to know that even in difficult situations you are capable of speaking your thoughts and ideas in a calm collected manner. Maintaining control of yourself and all situations you are in can help with feeling in control of life. Even in situations where you are not the one in control of everything
In all situations, do your best to stay calm, maintain eye contact, and be civil. When handled correctly, and assertively difficult conversations will lead to better communication and stronger relationships.
With these tools, you will be well prepared to have difficult conversations.