How to Prepare for a Difficult Conversation

If you’ve got knots in your stomach due to fear of a tough talk ahead of you, it should help you to realize that a difficult conversation is actually three different conversations at once.

  1. Facts — The “What Happened?” Conversation is a good place to start. Approach with curiosity and ask, “Hey, umm…what just happened there? Did I miss something or did you just eat my sandwich?” Don’t let the crumbs on their mouth fool you. Like they say in journalism, “If your mom says she loves you, check it out.”
  2. Feelings — The “How Did That Make Me Feel?” Conversation can be deep and require self-awareness you may or may not possess. Do you realize how mad you are? Are you feelingĀ insecure? Or left out? Stop and get in touch with what the event triggered in you. Don’t blame others for pushing buttons that maybe shouldn’t be there to begin with. Take an inward look.
  3. Identity — “The What Does This Say About Me?” Conversation gets down to the core of how we see ourselves. You may feel like a horrible person when you’re really honest or you may feel unworthy of love when the other person reacts negatively. Pretty soon, what we’re fighting about is not what we’re really fighting about. Step back and get perspective.

All of this sounds easy and prescriptive here, but that’s not how the authors deal with the issue. They offer really good insights on understanding what’s going on AND how to approach the situation positively.

Do you need to talk to someone about something? How might the Facts, Feelings, and Identify conversations play into it?

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