“The talk” is easily one of the most difficult and dreaded parts of life, but we all have to go through it at some point.

Some of us have become experts at avoiding difficult discussions, while others plunge into them like a bull in a china shop. There’s no such thing as an easy method to discuss with someone who might make them angry, put them on the defensive, or make you feel uncomfortable. Hard conversations with others, on the other hand, may lead to personal breakthroughs, and mutual understanding, and even strengthen connections rather than harm them.

Last week, it seemed like every exchange I was having was a problem. From discussing an issue with my employment partner to informing a close friend about her habitual tardiness, I was frequently in the position to deliver a hostile message.

My previous technique of addressing unpleasant talks was to avoid them. I had a bad habit of putting things off or entering into confrontations. I’ve also had a difficult discussion, and I understand how frustrating it is. I recall the disturbed look on my manager’s face when she delivered the bad news to me earlier in my career. I could see how painful it was for her to let me go.

When we face conversations that are hard to have, we:

  • Respond in a way that isn’t open or sincere, but is instead latent with underhandedness.
  • Get pumped and gear up for battle.
  • Avoid all of them at the same time.

Therefore, the likelihood of harming the relationship is too high. If you are not careful when approaching difficult conversations:

  • You could see how your connections had been damaged.
  • Feelings are unspoken and fester.
  • Negative emotions come up
  • We often miss chances to connect with others on a meaningful level

There is a better approach. Here’s what I’ve discovered with my clients when having a tough conversation:

1. When Communicating With Others, Always Have Them Face-to-Face

It’s easy to say what we can’t or don’t want to say in person by sending a text or email. The disadvantage of this strategy is that online conversations might be taken out of context and interpreted incorrectly. It is difficult to get the full story without human aspects such as tone of voice, body language, and personal presence.

Here’s what you should do: If you feel an online or text conversation is going in a negative direction, stop and change the subject. You could say something like: “It seems like this conversation would be better face-to-face. I would like to continue this conversation. Can we schedule a time to talk in person? If an in-person meeting is not possible, speaking by phone is the next best option.

2. Check Your True Intentions to Ensure That You Are on the Right Path

The most essential thing to consider is your goal for the discussion. According to Tanya Ezekiel, CEO, and founder of CareerCoach.com, certain prerequisites should be in place before you have a difficult conversation. “Be clear on your aim. It’s easy to go into detail and make a point,” she says, adding that you should ensure your goal isn’t to prove something or express yourself. Having an “I’m right, you’re wrong, and here’s why” approach is a guaranteed way to make any conversation go sour.

Here’s what you should do: The key is to figure out your goals for the discussion. Make sure you check in with yourself first to verify that your objectives are:

  • Understand the other individual.
  • Improve the connection.

You will be successful if you leave your ego at the door, empathize with others, and are open to working together to find a resolution.

3. Prior to Your Presentation, You Should Be Centered

If you’re feeling emotional about a situation that involves another person, it can make it harder to have a difficult conversation. Emotions can take control, resulting in a total breakdown of the discussion and leaving the situation unresolved. You may say things you don’t mean, believe you weren’t heard, or make the other person defensive.

Here’s what you should do: By putting some physical space between you and the conversation, it will give you time to clear your mind and process what is happening. Take a pause and excuse yourself if you find yourself getting tense while having an argument. Take a break and walk away until you can collect your thoughts, work through your feelings, and return to them with a clear mind. Some people need more time than others to process information. If you find yourself in this category, take the time you need to center and prepare for the conversation, but make sure to set a firm limit on how long you’ll be taking. This way, both parties can move forward with the discussion.

4. Consider the Perspective of the Other Person. Be Sympathetic and Sensitive to Their Feelings

It can be easy to enter into conversations with our own biases and limited perspective. This one-sidedness doesn’t take the other person into account and can hinder productive dialogue. There are usually two sides to every issue, yet if we don’t try to imagine how the other person feels, we will never have an accurate picture.

Here’s what you should do: Take a step back and look at the big picture. Perhaps you didn’t offer clear instructions due to a lack of communication. When you’re willing to see things from the other person’s perspective, you learn what you can do to improve and advance the connection.

Another option is to speak with someone uninvolved in the situation who only wants to help you see things more clearly. This may be a trustworthy buddy, mentor, or coach. Request assistance from this individual in seeing things from a new perspective.

Dreading confrontational conversations is natural, but if done with care, these same talks can improve relationships!

What difficult conversation have you been avoiding that you can now conduct with greater ease?

This article was originally published on Live in the Grey. More by Live in the Grey on Levo:

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