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Ideas On Having Difficult Conversations

  • July 13, 2022
  • Written by Community Futures Meridian

One of the things that worries many of us is having a difficult conversation. Whether the conversation is with a family member, a friend or someone at work, such as a boss, co-worker or employee, it is always a concern. We often avoid these conversations; we feel afraid of repercussions and causing bad feelings.

However, there are times when these difficult conversations are necessary—for instance, talking to a co-worker about the quality of their work or when they are late for meetings, asking a friend to repay a loan, giving unfavourable feedback, or approaching a boss about an unfair policy or decision.

Here are some things to consider before launching into a difficult conversation.

  1. What happened, and how is it affecting you?
  2. You can decide whether a conversation is necessary by identifying the issue and your thoughts and feelings about it. Ask yourself. How important is this to me? What outcome do I want or expect from a conversation?
  3. Once you decide to have the conversation, you need to share your side of the story with the other person. Explain, from your perspective, what happened. State your observations and how the situation affected you. Use statements such as, “When you did this, I felt this,” to show the consequences of the other person’s actions.
  4. It is essential then to get their view of the situation. Listen carefully to what they say. Everyone has a unique perspective and understanding of the same situation.
  5. At this point, you and the other person should identify whether there is indeed a problem or if there has been a simple misunderstanding.
  6. Work toward a solution through respectful dialogue if there is still a problem. Consider what you and the other person want to achieve by the end of the conversation. What will a resolution look like, and what can you both learn from it?

Difficult conversations are uncomfortable; they often bring stress and anxiety. Remember, the longer they are put off, the more anxious and stressed-out you will become.

Ask yourself, “what will happen if I don’t have this difficult conversation?”

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching

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