I remember the last time i had a “difficult” or sensitive conversation with someone, how things unfolded was really not how i had hopped they would. I literally had everything planned out in my head,that is,what i was going to say when what was said to me,what emotions i was going to portray so as not to look weak,how long i was going to let the conversation last for,,,long story short,all the planning was in vain. Everything played out in a completely different fashion and not for a moment,did i imagine things would take a different turn.
Today’s post I’ll share some of the lessons i learnt(as the person communicating) about what i choose to call the “art of having difficult conversations”. Difficult conversations are uncomfortable to have so we tend to avoid having them. Some reasons may be we are scared of how the other person/persons will react,what turn will our relationship take after all is said and done, maybe we are just too scared to know how the other person feels about a certain matter,just to mention a few. But avoiding these kind of conversations is not always the best solution. Eventually we have to talk things through and let them know where we stand at. Let’s dive in;
1.State your why.
What are your intentions for having this conversation? Are you doing it so that you can just let it out your system and maybe get some closure so as to finally let go, are you having that difficult conversation so as to try and fix things, whatever reason it is,make sure you identify it and understand why.
I know is there really a right time to call out someone for being a shady human being? I don’t know but there sure is a wrong time for doing so. People are generally different:some won’t mind being called out immediately on their BS,some will literally blow back at you if you dare try coming after them. Situations may be different. The level of hurt caused is different:you can not equate pain caused form a partner caught cheating to a text left on read(oh, you think that doesn’t hurt😌). So yess good timing is a consideration to keep in mind.
Also timing in your end. Are you ready to have an honest conversation with that particular person about that particular matter. It’s important to make sure that you are both mentally and emotionally aware of your ability to take in whatever unpacking will result to unfolding.
3. Be direct.
This is not the time to make the conversation really long by beating around the bush. Remember difficult conversations are quite uncomfortable for people to have,the last thing you want is to prolong their being uncomfortable. Be direct and state the facts as you see them. State the problem not the symptoms. Is he spending too much money on betting,that is exactly what you tell him,don’t paint a picture that isn’t real. Part of being an adult is knowing when to be direct and honest about how certain things make you feel.
4. Keep an open mind about how the other person is going to react.
Most oftentimes,they will try to justify their behavior,even if it means having to gaslight you. Some will even go to the extent of pinning the blame on you, talking about,if you were home i would not have been out cheating, or i never would have gotten physical if you never raised your voice at me. Not everyone is mature enough to hold a candid honest conversation about their flaws. Keeping an open mind about their reaction to the matter will go a long way in taming your expectations as far as dealing with the matter is concerned. Some nasty traits may even come out,some you never seen in them. It’s important to remember that however they choose to react should not be a you problem,it’s their reaction after all.
5. Look out for yourself.
By this i mean protect your mind,your feelings and emotions,your body even. Most of the difficult conversations may evoke a wide range of emotional responses from the other party. These may include anger which may lead them to saying things they don’t mean,some even get physical. Just keep in mind that not everything said during a weird fit of rage,reflects how the other person thinks of you. A lot is going to be said,some you won’t expect,but you should not let them get to you.
6. Listen to understand.
Remember that this is a dialogue not a monologue. That means that it’s not only you talking,let the other person talk too. When they do,try and listen,listen to understand what made them act the way the did,let them explain themselves. Understanding it doesn’t have to happen at that moment, maybe because your feelings were hurt and you not in any head space to internalise why they moved how they did,which is fine. Listening to understand will help you in knowing how to respond. This will go a long way in making sure that the conversation isn’t merely passive but one that’s well thought out and hopefully reach an amicable decision on the way forward.
7. Take breathers.
It’s important to take breaks to try and internalise what has been said by both of you. This is important as it gives the involved parties time to process what was said and to mutually agree on a decision that is best for all person’s involved. Taking breathers prevents making rush decisions that may damage the possibility of recovery. It also allows you to see things for what they really are,maybe it was a misunderstanding from your end when all along you’ve been thinking of yourself as the victim. It’s also important to give the other person/persons time before they can give a response,it doesn’t have to happen right before a decision is made.
Attached bellow is a voice recording of the write up. Hope you enjoy listening 🙂.