Meenal Patel, Licensed Professional Counselor

There are times when we have to have tough conversations with your friends, co-workers, bosses, employees, family, or partners. How do we manage having those conversations without being tough on them or being rude? How can we address what we want to say without them feeling attacked or defeated? How do we not allow them to attack us? Continue reading to learn how to manage difficult conversations with people in our lives…

Be Direct

Do not go off the beaten path when talking having a serious conversation. Identify ways to be direct and staying on topic for when you talk to people. Do not allow them to change the subject or downplay what you are needing to get across.

Be Specific

This goes along with being direct, but also being specific about what you are needing to say. Be very precise in your wordings and trying to stick to the point. Often times in difficult conversations, people tend to start talking about other stuff and not wanting to face what is at hand, so making sure you are being specific is important to managing difficult conversations.

Hold Your Ground

Do not allow the other person to react through actions or words and distract you from what you are wanting to talk about. We do not always have difficult conversations, and when we do, they are of course difficult, so making sure that we are sticking to what we have to say.

Have a Game Plan

Decide ahead of time what you are planning to say. If you know your exact direction and what you want to address, it will be easier for you to execute your plan. Being able to identify for yourself if this is a conversation that needs to happen, or you just want it to happen. Being able to identify correctly how to go about your plan is more important.

Set Boundaries/Rules

If you have to have a tough conversation with someone that you care about or in a work setting and you think it might get pretty heated, make sure you have set your boundaries and rules for the conversation. If you and someone else are working on clearing the air, emotions can run high, so just make sure that both parties have rules set and what is appropriate and what is not.

Watch Your Language/Tone

The same rules kind of go with setting rules and boundaries than it does with language and tone. Make sure that both parties are not raising their voices or saying things that come from anger that they might regret later. Being mindful of each other and making sure that each other are using respectful tones and languages.

Doing Check-ins Post-Conversation

After a tough conversation, both parties will be feeling a certain way. Making sure that both parties can check in with each other at some point to make sure that they are still able to communicate with each other and also seeing what are ways that conversations could have been done differently or if one person had a more difficult time with expressing their emotions.

If you are about to have a tough conversation with someone, remember these points. There are of course many ways to go about having a tough conversation but reminding yourself what is most important and how you can get your point across in the most appropriate way.

If you are needing guidance in how to communicate with others, feel free to reach out to any of our talented therapists for support.