5 Tips For Having Those Difficult Conversations

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.


How To Use Humour To Resolve Conflict In Your Relationship

The conflict has been brewing all day. The combatants are at crisis point, and it feels like the entire office is holding their collective breath waiting to see what happens next. At this point, they’re ready for bloodshed, or at the very least, some very strong words.


The last thing they expect is for one of the key players in the conflict to open their mouth and… make a joke?


Maybe it doesn’t feel like a resolution to the conflict, but actually, laughter goes far beyond being the clichéd ‘best medicine.’  How? First of all, laughter takes the tension out of the situation, which exactly is what’s needed to regain perspective, build stronger bonds, and yes, sometimes smooth over the differences.


How then do you effectively use humor to resolve conflicts?


1. Make sure that both parties are ‘in on the joke.’

By keeping humor wholesome – not at the expense of the other person, you’re focusing on inviting them to laugh with you, rather than laughing at them. How will you know if you’re doing it right? Humor is tricky, and so your best indicator of getting it right is to gauge the other person’s reactions. If they’re not laughing, chances are they don’t find it funny. Stop!


2. Check to make sure that you’re using humor as a defensive weapon rather than as a positive tool.

If you’re using humor to mask emotions that you’d rather not deal with right now, then it’s time to put a flag on the play. Stop immediately and ask yourself what it is that you’re not dealing with and why.


3. Work on that sense of humor.

Every good comedian knows how to read their audience. The same goes for using humor with another person, especially in a situation that’s already a conflict. Watch the nonverbal cues. What language are you using? Keep the tone positive and light, and mean it. That means don’t use jokes as a means of cruelty. Lastly, consider what you might use as an inside joke. Inside jokes not only keep the situation light but create a deeper intimacy with whom you conflict.


4. Most importantly, be Playful!

A little bit of silly fun is a good thing. Not sure how to tap into that kind of fun and crazy side? Explore humor in other ways so that you always have a repertoire to fall back on. Watch things you find funny on TV or in movies. Listen to jokes. Read the funnies. Find that side of you that likes to play and encourage it with creativity and fun.


And no matter what, cut yourself some slack. It takes practice to be funny. Keep at it, and you’ll find your natural sense of humor, and be able to tap into it when you need to. That conflict won’t know what hit it!