Mastering Difficult Conversations #011
On today’s podcast episode we are talking about Mastering Difficult Conversations.
I’d like you to take a minute and think about someone in your life, maybe it’s your spouse, your kids, your mother-in-law, your neighbor, your boss or even your best friend, that you need to have a difficult conversation with that you have been avoiding.
By now you know that the longer you’ve been avoiding that conversation, the worse the situation gets. It creates distance in the relationship or prevents the relationship from being as rewarding and fulfilling as it could be with better communication.
And the conversations we should be having are the real game changers. They can transform the relationship, heal a relationship and grow you both as individuals. And yet, we avoid them. And it Leaves both parties feeling unheard. Un-validated. Fearful, frustrated, disconnected, annoyed or even angry. All emotions that drain the relationship of it’s full potential and affect your mood, attitude and choices in ALL areas of your life. Even outside of that particular relationship.
How would it change you to have that conversation over with? Would you feel more confident? More empowered? More in control of your own life?
How would the relationship change? Would communication be easier? Would there be less misunderstandings or hurt feelings? Would there be a deeper connection?
So, let's be honest about difficult conversations?
Do they ever go away when we ignore or avoid them? Most of the time, they don’t.
They linger, they fester and the problem worsens over time. All the while depleting our confidence more and more.
We tell ourselves we don’t want to upset the other person. We don’t want to cause drama.
We tell ourselves it’ll make things worse if we confront them. That it will work itself out on its own eventually. We wonder if we’re wrong or if they’ll finally walk away from the relationship if we stand our ground. Or we think “but they’re such a nice person, I’m sure they didn’t mean any harm.”
We come up with a million reasons to avoid the difficult conversation. We build it up in our minds and make it much scarier than it actually is.
The truth is, we need to have that conversation because we want to grow or heal the relationship, or we want to solve a problem or the way things are now just isn’t working.
So overcoming that anxiety and having those tough conversations anyway is one of our most imperative challenges and skills we need to build on as individuals.
How to know if you need to have a difficult conversation. Do any of these ring a bell for you?
Things like a client or customer having long-standing invoices, or a vendor delivering poor quality or service repeatedly. A neighbor who constantly does something intrusive or disrespectful. A relative who’s always negative or sticks their nose in your business. A friend who tries to discipline your kids. A spouse who neglects your needs or feelings. A family member or friend who takes advantage. A doctor who belittles or is condescending. A co-worker who oversteps their bounds or an employee who doesn’t do their job properly.
The list is endless. Because let’s face it. People will go as far as we let them.
If you’re like I was, you try to be nice, kind, patient and tolerant. But that can quickly lead to your boundaries being completely pushed aside or trampled on.
And that is where things get messy. We start to tell ourselves stories like:
Maybe she doesn’t really care about my feelings.
I should probably just get used to it.
I had it coming.
I can send an email or text later to set them straight (which is just another way of avoiding btw. Confrontations should always be handled face to face when possible.)
Difficult conversations are inevitable and avoiding them can and often does hurt our relationships, careers, and businesses.
Why do we avoid difficult conversations:
We think we have too much to lose so it's better to just let things play out.
We get to play the victim or martyr.
We're afraid of rejection, of being wrong, of hurting their feelings or of the uncertainty of the outcome.
Previous negative experiences have taught us to avoid them.
We haven't been taught or had healthy models for handling difficult conversations.
It's seen as rude or mean or insensitive to confront people.
We have unhealthy examples of how to handle difficult conversations.
We make hope a strategy for handling difficult conversations.
The Biggest Takeaways from this Episode:
Difficult conversations are inevitable and learning and developing the skills to master them ensure healthier relationships and stronger self confidence.
We avoid difficult conversations out of ignorance, fear or naivety.
The harsh effects of not having difficult conversations on your relationships.
The biggest mistakes people make with regard to having difficult conversations.
The role that fear plays in difficult conversations and how we can overcome it.
Actionable tips you can use TODAY to start building your confidence and healing or improving your relationships using difficult conversations.
What we are really avoiding.
How to prepare for difficult conversations.
How to know when you do need to have a difficult conversation.
What NOT to do during your preparation and during the conversation.
How to understand the role your background and history play a role in your previous ability or inability to handle difficult conversations and how to move forward with that knowledge.
Understanding the other person's role and limitations in the situation.
The 4 Steps To Ensure A Positive Outcome Of A Difficult Conversation.
Examples of conversation starters you can use to have those difficult conversations.
Tips you can use to help prevent you from turning tail and running away from difficult conversations.