How to Have Tough Conversations and Feel Better – Regardless of the Outcome

Have you been avoiding telling someone how you really feel? Struggling to have those tough conversations?

Man about to have a tough conversation

It’s common for us to want to avoid confrontations.  The problem is, if you ignore it, the issue won’t magically disappear. 

If you’re a conflict avoider, you’d rather deal with your uncomfortable feelings than hash it out with the other person.  Maybe you tell yourself, Theres no point, believing s/he isn’t going to be receptive to what you have to say.

But, unless you release the pent-up energy screaming for expression by having the tough conversation you need to have, you’ll likely experience resentment, anger and dread whenever you have to interact with this person without any possibility of healing what’s bothering you.

You Could be Avoiding Having a Tough Conversation Because:

  • You’re a people pleaser – being liked is more important to you than speaking your truth.
  • You’re a conflict avoider – you don’t want to rock the boat (that’s already sinking….!),
  • You believe the relationship could deteriorate even further
  • You feel like you could “lose face” and feel more vulnerable if the other person isn’t receptive

But you’re going to drain your energy and hold onto negative feelings until you express yourself.

If you’re a conflict avoider or people pleaser, or both, it may be helpful for you to reflect on these wise words of the brilliant psychologist, Dr. Abraham Low,

Inner approval is a need, not a want.

Outer approval, is a want not a need.

By taking contrary action and having the tough conversation, you’ll build your self-respect and self-esteem because you faced your fear and spoke your truth and tried to improve the situation – even if the other person isn’t able to meet you half-way.

Despite what happens, your actions are important and show that you value yourself and your feelings enough to expect to be heard.

I recommend that you use my tools and have the tough conversation as it could end up being healing for both you, leaving you feeling profound relief. Imagine how GREAT you’d feel if you had a breakthrough in the relationship using these tools.

Know that dealing with tough conversations is all about being the best self, better leader and even better entrepreneur. Clarity is key. Now let’s get started.

And even if this isn’t the outcome, you can feel good about standing up for yourself.

You might as well as no one else is going to !

Preparing To Have a Tough Conversation Is To:

  • Be respectful – only say how you feel about that person to their face – not behind their back. Being respectful to yourself is not speaking about another until you are willing to share it to their face. This then “saves you face”.
  • Get clarity on why this situation is so important to you and what, ideally, you would like to achieve by having this discussion. What is the outcome you desire?
  • Your energy matters and doing everything you can to sort your energy out before the tough conversation is important. Here’s a video for you to start.
  • Do some deep breathing and meditating to get yourself in a calm place so you can stay open (and avoid getting defensive). Here are a few tools to use.
  • Reframe the situation in your mind by staying calm and doing your best by REMOVING ALL EMOTION from your voice. Keep your voice even-keeled. Getting angry usually backfires and makes the circumstance worse.
  • Speak in a neutral tone that should help keep the tone of the conversation relaxed and constructive.  Exercise before you have to have such a conversation.

I encourage you to prepare to accept any outcome. Think about the best outcome possible, but allow for the worst possible scenario, and accept that this could occur, then you won’t be quite as surprised or upset about the result of the conversation. The reward is that you’ll be able to congratulate yourself for advocating for yourself and overcoming something that you usually avoid.

Struggling To Have Tough Conversations at Work?

It’s not unkind to tell your hires the truth as long as you treat him or her respectfully.

It’s part of your role as a good manager to learn to speak to them honestly and directly.

Get clarity on what you wish to achieve.  For example, perhaps you feel uncomfortable every day in the office whenever you see that person, adding stress to an already challenging day. If you clear the air, you’ll feel more composed in the person’s presence – on the inside as well as on the outside – as you’ve had your say.

If necessary, make suggestions that will improve your hire’s performance or attitude that could positively turn around your relationship, a project, or your workplace. You owe it to your team to take responsibility for helping this hire pull their weight.

What you have to say may not necessarily be hurtful.  You could be encouraging them to speak up, or you could be trying to understand where they’re coming from.  If you’re constructive and positive, you’ll have an easier time communicating. Tell the hire that you’re informing them that something isn’t going so well and how improving this will lead to better customer service, a more efficient experience for the team, or you genuinely want them to do better.

Tough Conversations With Your Partner,  Friends or Family

It can be even harder to have tough conversations with the people closest to you.

Especially if you’ve held in your feelings for weeks, months, years – or even decades.

But, by following my recommendations, you have a better chance of deepening your relationship and even repairing it if it’s broken.

View The Best Way For You to Prepare To Have a Tough Conversation(above).

Breathe into your heart and ask yourself why you need to have this tough conversation.

Get clarity on what you’re hoping it will achieve,

Invite the other person by telling them that there’s something you’d like to share, and asking when would be a good time to talk. If they say they don’t want to, try not to get upset (although, doubtless, this would be upsetting…) or at least try not to show you’re upset.  (I didn’t say this would be easy…but it’s so worth it.) In this event, you could say something like: What I have to say is important and, if this isnt a good time, could I check back with you next week? Maybe youll be ready by then.  And repeat that what you have to say is important.

Tell him or her what you wish to discuss and what your reasons are for wanting to have this discussion. For example, I truly value our relationship and I want to discuss how I’ve been feeling about you lately.

Agree that you will take turns to speak and will not interrupt the other. Keep breathing and being kind in your mind.

Avoid rehearsing, take a deep breath, and speak from your heart.  Share what you truly feel. Take another deep breath and say what you’re most afraid of saying and asking for what you’re most afraid to ask.  If get triggered and start to lose it, return to breathing deeply into your heart, and just be fully present with the other person.

Let go of the need to be right (I know how hard this is…but if your relationship is truly important to you, it’s worth trying). Say something like: When x happened, I felt x.  Take ownership for what’s your responsibility and be willing to admit any faults. Try and let go of your story, and be open to seeing things differently. >>Click Here if you want to Start NOW!<<

Don’t leave the conversation until you’ve asked and had the answer to: What agreement can we reach?

End by telling the other person how much you appreciate them, what you love about them and the lessons you’re learning in this relationship.  Thank them for being willing to have this tough conversation with you, and remind them how much you love them, and how much your relationship means to you.

When you think about the conversation later, regardless of the outcome, I want you to really acknowledge yourself for your courage to advocate for yourself and speak truthfully from your heart.

Whatever happens, just know (if you’ve followed my recommendations!) you’ve done your part, lightened your load and can now breathe easily (or more easily!)

Good luck!

Click Here to Access More Clarity and Success!

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