How to have difficult conversations?

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By: Naveen B

How to have difficult conversations?

It takes forever to gain trust in any relationship, but one moment is enough to end everything from the beginning.

And such tragic and painful moments can be evolved even from the slightest gap in communication.

Whether the difficult conversations might be between friends, couples, co-workers, or; between an employee and a boss.

The approach may differ to deal with each situation; but the common solution always links to genuine humane characteristics such as mutual understanding, compassion, empathy, care, love, and support.

Related Article: A complete guide to improve your active listening skills for effective communication.

If you have already been through such uncomfortable conversations – and yet, can’t figure out how to have difficult conversations and deal consciously without hurting your counterpart and yourself emotionally –

We shall discuss how to have conversations with different people in different situations to make it efficient with a better outcome causing less pain for you, and less pain for the person you’re talking to.

Learn and apply these practical hard conversation tips and techniques that might lead you to have smooth and effortless communication in your future meetings.


Tips for difficult conversations

1. Face the challenge before it becomes too painful to accept

Being challenged in life is inevitable.

You need to know when to save for yourself and when to be able to ready to accept your defeat. The best way to resolve any conflict in relationships is to act as quickly as possible before it goes out of your hands to deal with. 

Though sometimes silence is the best option, you cannot avoid certain discussions.

Otherwise, they grow and potentially cause much bigger damage to both parties. So, how uncomfortable and critical the situation looks like, face the challenge instead of avoiding it.

2. Realize that any way you both are going to get hurt emotionally.

Don’t get offended. Sometimes not every hurt is bad, it allows you to give a new perception about life and provide unique insights into human nature. That opens doors to a new world that you never thought would be possible.

 If you are kind of a person who takes everything very personally, then take some time to read and realize this Chinese proverb on difficult situations: “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

3. Plan to have a complete open talk logically in a reasonable way.

Emotions are the major reason for the rise of conflicts in tough conversations. If you don’t control your emotions and keep a border between your emotions and logic, they will make you weak and mislead from the actuality of the situation.

Prepare yourself for the real talk.

Don’t treat yourself as a victim or superior; just think like a mediator and see from the third person’s point of view in order to get real clarity.

And what advice would you give to your close ones if they are in a similar difficult situation?

People Also read: What is the best way to communicate with someone who lacks empathy?

4. Listen to each other’s perspectives carefully to find out who is at fault and who has a better solution.

Put your personal opinions aside. It’s always not about yourself. Listen to the other person as much as you want to share your problems and perspectives.

Managing difficult conversations is an effective communication skill. Sometimes you learn more than you realize when you just breathe, be calm, observe, sit and listen carefully and silently. 

After, being patient with yourself and with the other, note down what each other has said and acted upon the loopholes to discuss further, in order to get to a better solution.

5. Figure out the root cause too soon but take time to get into a conclusion.

Give a chance to the person who has issues. Leave them (he or she) alone, let them think for a while to realize their own mistakes.

If they don’t improve themselves and show better results, then think of making a final decision.

6. Give constructive feedback and come to a mutual conclusion

After the analysis from your point of view and the other person, exchange each other’s final decisions based on the past conversations and realizations.

Then, with the mutual understanding come to a mutual conclusion.

7. Always be empathetic and provide emotional support to make them realize that you care and you too equally hurt for taking critical decisions.

Whatever the decisions you made, whether it is mutually beneficial or not. Clearly express what made you come to such a conclusion.

Be genuinely empathetic and be respectful to show the person that you care and equally hurt to put this issue to an end.

8. Reflect, learn and move on.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just allow the pain consciously and reflect to realize that your intentions are pure, no aim to hurt anyone but genuinely act upon the actions of the person leading you to decide what is best for both of you.

Learn from these difficult conversations and move on to the next stage of life.

TED TALK difficult conversations

Similar Resource: 

A Complete guide to build healthy relationships (250 relationship rules)

10 Genuine tips to make someone feel better in difficult situations

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Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry. His expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in medium and substack to name a few. To be updated with his latest work, connect with him by following his social media accounts.

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