Most people tend to avoid confrontation, which means that we avoid difficult conversations at the same time. While this might be a relief in the short-term, it can cause long-term problems, with unresolved issues and resentment coming to the fore. If there’s a tricky conversation you need to have with a partner, friend or co-worker, it’s time to say what needs to be said. Here’s how.
1. Admit to yourself that you need to have the conversation in the first place. Stop avoiding it, stop playing out worst case scenarios in your head. You have no idea how the conversation will go until you have it, so take a deep breath and make the commitment to speak up.
2. What do you want the outcome to be? It’s important to know this before going in. This isn’t an opportunity to vent and damage your relationship; it’s a chance to develop and grow your bond. Have a clear idea of what you want the outcome to be before saying a word, and this will inform and guide the experience.
3. Let the other person know you want to have a conversation with them and find out when would be a good time. Don’t randomly spring it on them in the bathroom or over happy hour drinks, make a clear plan to meet up with them so that you’re both prepared.
4. Always start out by framing the conversation in order to clarify both your expectations. Let them know that you have something you need to share and that once you’re done, you’ll give them the opportunity to share while you listen. Set your intentions clearly, be open to being vulnerable and ensure that the atmosphere is one of positivity.
5. Decide on what to do next. Make sure you have a clear idea of how things will progress once the conversation is over, and you’ve both had a chance to listen and respond to each other’s points of view. Being specific about your next steps is always better than being vague and will ultimately lead to a more constructive outcome for you both.
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