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How To Have A Difficult Conversation Successfully

Difficult conversations, such as breaking bad news or discussing addition or mental health, are never pleasant to have, but sometimes have to be a part of life. All of us will have to have an uncomfortable conversation with the people we love at some stage in our lives. These conversations can be very difficult, and make everyone involved feel stressed and upset. It can be difficult to know where to start and how best to have these conversations. This guide can help you to prepare for those tough conversations with the people you love.

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Be As Prepared As You Can
A hard conversation can go a lot more smoothly if you prepare yourself as much as you can before you have to talk. Try to remain reasonable in the expectations that you have of the results, and don’t try to plan out exactly what you want to say, as the conversation is bound to go in directions you didn’t expect. Instead, before the conversation, ask yourself some questions to get a better perspective on the situation. Why are you choosing to have this conversation? What is the outcome you are hoping for? How do you feel about the situation you need to discuss? Is there a part of the problem that you are responsible for? How do you think the other person is going to react to what you have to say? Taking the time to consider these questions will help you to focus on why you’re doing this in the first place, even though it is might be difficult. It also gives you a clear goal for the outcome that you want, whether you think a loved one needs to cut back on their drinking habits, or should be seeking help from a professional treatment center like Renaissance Recovery Center.

Before you have to have a hard conversation, practice some self-soothing techniques such as deep breathing to help you stay calm and focus if you feel emotional while talking to your loved one.

Choose A Time and Place
It isn’t easy to concentrate on more than one thing at a time, so you should try to have this conversation at a time when neither of you has other distractions to draw focus. Think carefully about the space you choose to use as well. Ideally, you should select somewhere quiet that offers you plenty of privacy and is free from distractions. You can’t have a tough conversation somewhere where you are worried about being disturbed or are being distracted by other family members coming in and out of the room. You also want somewhere quiet so you can both talk with honesty and without any concerns about being overheard. 

Raise The Issue In The Right Way
This can be the hardest part of having a difficult conversation. Try not to think about staying likable, and instead focus on being as honest as you can. Raise the subject with an open approach and be willing to work together to solve the issue. Be as clear as you can, and use specific examples of the issue you are worried about. Try to avoid laying any blame on anyone or and try not to use any language that sounds accusatory as this can make people defensive and unwilling to listen. Try not to say things like ‘always’ and ‘never’, and instead communicate clearly the way that you feel. For example, instead of saying, “You always do this,” say, “I feel this way when you don’t do this.” This approach shows that you understand their intention is likely not to be to cause the hurt or upset that they do but still manages to express your feelings in a clear way. 

Try To Be Understanding
If you’re going to find a solution to the problem, you need to respect each other and reach an achievable resolution that suits you both. Listen properly to their response without interrupting them. Acknowledge what they’re feeling, even if you feel it is wrong. You don’t have to agree with them but you should show that you understand and are taking them and their feelings seriously.

Own your own role in the conflict, even if you don’t like to admit you’ve played a part, such as admitting that you can become overly defensive during an argument, or have not been as available to listen to them as they would like. If the conversation starts to wander to other subjects, bring it back. Avoid returning to every argument you’ve ever had, and instead, stick to the subject you want to solve.