Tips for Having a Difficult Conversation

By Rachel Cringoli
The Rooted RN
Life Coach, helping women handle their emotions, to heal & handle life.

Difficult conversations are unavoidable, uncomfortable, but oh so necessary.

How’s it going being home so many hours after so many months? You doing ok?

Chances are, there have been moments of misunderstanding, and hurt feelings between you and your partner. Totally normal, you are human.

Here are 5 tips to have a difficult conversation, without fighting or blaming:

1) Remove Distractions: Take the dog out prior, turn the tv and cell phones off, wait until the kids have gone to bed. You want to set yourself up for success, and removing distractions allows you and your partner to focus only on each other. And you both deserve that full attention.

2) Know what you are discussing. Yes, this seems obvious, but have you ever found yourself down a rabbit-hole of finger pointing blame when you go to talk about a disagreement? ( the answer is yes).  Defining what you want to talk about makes your intentions and expectations clear. This helps the conversation stay on track, towards understanding. And it lets your partner know exactly what is on your mind, and what is important to you, to be discussed. Before coming together, answer ” What is my goal from this conversation?”. Be specific in what you want to talk about, and then share your answers with each other. These answers are the focus of the conversation.

3) Have patience: It can be uncomfortable to talk about feelings; especially when one or both persons feelings are hurt. Be patient. Allow each person to talk AND listen to what they are saying. Don’t worry about what you’ll say next, just listen. You must do the same. You might find a resolution and understanding way faster, by listening openly, without blame.  We have to meet people where they are in these conversations. Be patient, and understanding, acknowledge their feelings and redirect to the subject at hand when needed. If unable to redirect, take a five-minute break and come back to the conversation. Go back to what you wrote down before you started talking.

4) Leave time for responses: If someone needs a moment to think, allow it. Encourage questions. Let each person process the information in their own way and time. That might mean a five-minute pause. Or allowing the person to write out some thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper to sort through, before answering back. There is no wrong way here. But don’t try to rush. Just be with each other and focus on what you wrote in step 2.

5) Keep a sense of humor. Serious conversations don’t have to feel so serious. You are taking the first step to communicate in a whole new way.  Leave room to share stories of experiences, laugh when something funny is mentioned. Remember the roots of love with your partner. You are working to understand and find a solution, not to keep fighting.

Communication is like anything else; it takes practice to find your groove. You’re starting a new habit, and like lifting weights, you are strengthening new muscles in your brain and heart. Keep having the difficult conversations, to see the results. Try these steps and see what works for you as a couple. In time, you will find, these conversations don’t feel “difficult” anymore.

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