Conversations are very important to build positive friendship. Some people avoid conflict at all costs, swallowing their frustration. But it only builds up inside, causing resentment that keeps a distance in the relationship. On the other hand, some people are all too ready to jump in on situations and only end up widening the gap by their forcefulness or insensitivity. By taking these six ‘right’ steps, it is possible to prepare for a tough conversation that is more likely to resolve things and make your relationship stronger, rather than keep you apart.
Table of Contents
1. The right issue
It’s important to get to the root of the matter that’s sparked the need to talk, Anger is often the primary emotion we are aware of but beneath the surface could be something else—disappointment, fear, loss. Clarifying the focus ahead of time is vital. What’s really the point here—that your son called his sister a rude name or the importance of respecting other people? Do you want to simply give him a list of banned words or a greater appreciation of the need for kindness? If the talk you need to have is with one of your kids, consider these 7 C’s for communicating with Teens.
2. The right time
When we are irked by a situation, we often want to blurt out something right there and then. But when it comes to communication, timing is everything. You might do better to wait until you have calmed down, and there is enough time to really talk. Just the other morning, I was frustrated about something with my wife, Susan, and told her all about it in the moment—even though she was trying to get out of the house on time for an important appointment. As you might suspect, it did not go well.
3. The right place
Speaking plainly with someone goes much better when it occurs in a good environment. So ensure they are best positioned to hear what you have to say. Maybe taking your son out for breakfast at a diner will provide just the right amount of privacy while also taking the conversation away from home. Similarly, some couples choose not to bring tough talks into their bedroom because they want it to always be a place of intimacy and closeness, rather than tension.
4. The right attitude
Remember that you may not have all the facts. You need to hear the other person’s side before you can really decide where any fault may lie. Do you want to find out the whole story, or do you just want to give them a piece of your mind? Having a humble approach communicates that you want to hear from them, not just harangue them. Even if you consider them to be in the wrong, perhaps you can start by admitting any mistakes you have made in the situation. Demonstrating your willingness to listen will encourage them to do the same.