How do you feel when you need to have a difficult conversation with a friend or coworker? Most of us avoid difficult conversations because we are uncomfortable or we assume the outcome without even having the conversation. Do you struggle when approached with an issue or conflict and after it has passed you think, “Dang, I should’ve said something?” Or long after the conflict you’re still hot and bothered. I’ll share with you how I’ve seemed to overcome this struggle and have total peace with around courageous conversations. There’s a quote by Tim Ferris that’s quite fitting for the topic.
“A person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” Tim Ferriss (4 Hour Work Week)
Keep this mind when you need have these conversations and how attacking them head on will grant you so much more success and happiness.
1. Is it a conversation to have?
If it’s an issue that you constantly think about and that has become unsettling, you may want to consider addressing it. Especially if it’s with a spouse, relative, coworker, or close friend. Determine how important the relationship is to you or if the conflict is against your morals or character. We often make conversations more difficult than they have to be because we jump to our own conclusions or assume negative intentions on the person’s behalf. Just simply asking and clarifying will likely clear that right up. Avoiding a conversation can be just as harmful as handling them like crap. By avoiding some conversations, you hinder the growth and improvement of both parties. So put on your big girl panties and handle it!
2. How or where to hash it out?
First things first, it’s important to listen with understanding and for clarity. Regardless of the intensity of the conversation, it’s best to hear them out with calm and curiousity. The intention is often misunderstood and we draw our own conclusion without asking questions. If the conversation gets intense, simply ask more questions. It’s better to come from a sense of clarity than trying to prove who’s right or wrong. The context or mindset you have entering into the conversation can vastly affect the outcome. “I’m going to set him straight or let me just handle this” is not the best approach and will likely end horribly.
Now, where to have this conversation? In the time of social media, emails, text messages etc…..they are not the best methods to settle your issues. Lord, they will probably make it worse. The tone is often misunderstood with those methods and the points each person is trying to make can’t be addressed as they occur. If at all possible, try to have courageous conversations over the phone or in person. One of my best friends and I need to have a heart to heart, which started over text messages. I decided quickly, let’s not have this conversation this way. Either we will set a time to speak or travel for a face to face. We decided that our friendship and the depth of the conversation warrants more than text messages or emails. Even if the intensity of it leads to tears or heart break, having the conversation in person will be much more effective.
3. Will it bring you peace?
Sometimes difficult conversations are not worth having. There are instances that call for silence and to simply ignore this issue. It’s ok to choose happiness or peace versus hashing it out. Sometimes you just gotta do what makes you happy. For example, in the past a friend disagreed with a decision I made in my life. The old me used to think, I need address this because she has no right. But, now, it’s not worth it. The problem she has with my decision is just that “her problem” not mine. I learned to keep my peace at all cost and not take on other people issues. And let me tell you, the sky opened up and the birds sing when I found that peace. The saying “hurt people, hurt people” is true and it’s often the reason they lash out or take their pain out on you or others. It’s doesn’t make it right but it happens so it’s better to extend that person grace and not allow their pain to affect your peace.
4. What do you hope to gain?
Before you enter the conversation consider what you hope to gain or what do you want to walk away with. By me having the face to face conversation with my friend, I hope to gain clarity, peace and essentially our friendship again. With every courageous conversation you will gain something, it may not be a better relationship with that person but you will definitely learn something.
What Shee knows for sure….
- At the end of the day, it’s about forgiveness, peace, love, empathy, and growth.
- The more difficult conversations you have, the better you’re able to get things done and progress personally and professionally.
- Leaders and boss babes do not avoid these conversations, they attack them head on.
- It’s best to have the conversation when you can give it your full attention and listen without an accusatory attitude.
Yep, Shee is the conflict connoisseur. When they go low, I go high! With every conflict I’ve conquered, I feel herculean and pops collar 😉