Having a disagreement with a friend or co-worker? Or maybe there’s something you need to tell a loved one? In any relationship whether it’d be with your sister, best friend, or significant other, good communication can be hard. So what do I do when I need to have a sit-down conversation with someone? I follow these few easy tips and remember that even though confronting someone can be difficult, it’s a must-do when it comes to healthy relationships.
Focus on one topic at a time. Discussions can sometimes be hard in any relationship, and can leave you feeling flustered and unable to communicate effectively. To make this easier I only talk about one topic at a time and only when that topic has been fully discussed do I move on to the next one. This helps me feel more confident in what I’m saying, allowing my feelings to be communicated clearly.
Talk about YOU! I know this might seem like something you shouldn’t do when confronting someone, but trust me, you need to: nobody, including myself, likes being blamed for something or told how they feel. When I was last confronted about a certain situation, the person kept putting the blame on me, saying this like “You messed up” and “why would You do that?” leaving me feeling attacked and defensive. To avoid situations like this, that seem accusatory, use phrases such as “I feel this when you do this.” This helps the person you’re talking to feel less like they’re being attacked and more able to understand where you’re coming from.
Try to see the situation from their point of view. Although it’s important to get across how you’re feeling, it’s just as important to recognize that you’re talking to someone whom you care for and what and how you say something is going to have an impact on them. So to steer clear of anything that might be taken the wrong way, I try to put myself in their shoes and see the situation the way they would. Then, with that in mind, I come up with a way to say things in a non-confrontational way, avoiding things that may cause misunderstandings.
Next, listen carefully. After I’ve said everything I need to say, I always make it a point that I allow the person I’m talking to, to do the same. Trying to think of what to say next, or talking over the person, is not giving them the attention that they deserve and can lead to more misunderstandings than answers.
Finally, let the past be the past! Whenever I feel it necessary to confront someone about a present situation or worry I have, I always make sure to stick to the situation at hand. Everybody has made mistakes at one time or another and it’s important to recognize that whatever that person has done in the past, was in the past and is not what you should be discussing at the moment.
So next time there’s something you need to discuss with someone you care for, don’t get nervous and try to avoid the situation, use these few simple tips and SPEAK UP!
Written by Carly Odynsky, Peer Educator