Mastering the Art of Difficult Conversations: There are times when having tough talks can be scary, especially for people who try to avoid them. Instead of ignoring these conversations, it is important to go into them with a plan that supports open communication and finding a solution. In an Instagram post, therapist Klara Kernig gives helpful advice on how to have these tough talks. Take a look at these six tips that will help you have tough talks, even if the thought of them makes you anxious.
Mastering the Art of Difficult Conversations
Start by being Polite
First, try to understand how the other person feels. Try to understand how they feel, what they think, and what worries them. To start a talk off on the right foot, show empathy. Not only that, but it also helps partners learn to respect each other.
Be clear about what you want to do
It’s important to ask yourself what you want to get out of your talk. Being clear about what you want to get out of the conversation helps you end it nicely. Whether you’re trying to settle a disagreement or understand something better. Once you know what you want, the talk will go in a way that makes sense. When you make your worries clear to the other person, there is less chance of confusion. For instance, “I’d like to talk to you about something that’s been bothering me so that we can figure it out together.”
Take a break if things aren’t going as planned
There are times when you can do everything to have a good conversation, but the other person won’t be ready to do the same. It can feel like the conversation is going nowhere.
If the other person is too upset, angry, or emotional to react, here are some things you can do.
- If you think it’s safe, let them talk about how they feel.
- Getting something off their chest might help them start to solve the problem.
- Leave them alone and try again after some time has passed.
Think about the problem from their point of view
It’s simple to get caught up in how you feel, especially if something has hurt you or makes you feel bad. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view before you make any snap decisions. You might want to ask yourself:
- List five possible reasons why the person did what they did.
- Is this person normally this way, or have they never done or said something like this before?
- What else might be going on in their life that could be a reason?
Asking open-ended questions that let the other person share their thoughts and feelings is a good way to start a useful conversation. Asking open-ended questions helps people understand the problem better and shows that you are interested in their point of view. Don’t ask yes or no questions because they can make the talk short. Ask things like, “How do you feel about what I just said?” or “Can you help me see things from your point of view?”
Active listening is a part of good conversation. When someone talks, pay close attention and try to see things from their point of view. Say what you heard again to make sure you understand and to show that you care about their point of view. Active listening helps people understand each other, which makes it more possible that they can work together to find a solution.
Agreeing with Their Perspective
There will be times when this kind of talk doesn’t end well. It’s okay if you can’t talk through some people, events, or behaviors.
It’s not the same thing to agree to disagree with someone. Picking which wars to fight is just a way to protect yourself.