Navigating Difficult Conversations in Personal Relationships: Tips for handling tough conversations with family, friends, and partners.
Are you struggling to communicate with your loved ones? Join Randi Owsley, LMSW and Jessica Bullwinkle, LMFT, as they share tips and techniques for making difficult conversations easier. In this episode, you'll learn how to manage your emotions, communicate effectively, and resolve conflicts in your personal relationships. Whether you're dealing with family, friends, or partners, this episode will provide you with practical strategies for navigating tough conversations with ease.
If you're looking for ways to handle difficult conversations with ease, then you've come to the right place. With our resources on navigating difficult conversations in personal relationships, you can learn valuable coping skills and tools that can help you manage challenging conversations with family, friends, and partners.
We cover a range of topics, including turning difficult conversations into opportunities, conducting difficult conversations with confidence, simplifying difficult conversations in personal relationships, and more. Whether you're looking to improve your communication skills, resolve conflicts with empathy, or simply have easier conversations for better mental health, we have the resources you need to succeed. So why not explore our content today and start making difficult conversations easier?
We have an exciting lineup of upcoming podcasts that will cover a range of important topics related to having difficult conversations. Our episodes will provide tips, techniques, and strategies for managing challenging conversations in various contexts, including work, personal relationships, and leadership.
We'll explore approaches to difficult conversations, overcoming fear, and preparing for them. Additionally, we'll discuss the art of conducting difficult conversations, managing emotions, and communicating effectively. Whether you're looking to resolve conflicts with empathy, turn difficult conversations into productive ones, or simply improve your active listening skills, our podcasts will provide valuable insights and practical advice. Stay tuned for more episodes covering these important topics and more.
What are some common mistakes people make during difficult conversations?
Some common mistakes include not actively listening, getting defensive, and resorting to personal attacks.
How can I prepare for a difficult conversation?
You can prepare by setting clear goals, anticipating potential roadblocks, and practicing active listening.
What are some strategies for managing emotions during a difficult conversation?
Strategies include taking deep breaths, using “I” statements, and taking a break if needed.
How can I turn a difficult conversation into an opportunity for growth?
By approaching the conversation with empathy, actively listening, and focusing on finding a solution rather than assigning blame.
How can I communicate effectively during a difficult conversation?
Effective communication involves using clear and concise language, avoiding personal attacks, and actively listening to the other person.
What are some tips for handling difficult conversations with family members?
Tips include setting boundaries, using “I” statements, and acknowledging each other's feelings.
How can I overcome my fear of difficult conversations?
By practicing and preparing, acknowledging your emotions, and focusing on the potential benefits of the conversation.
How can I resolve conflicts through difficult conversations?
By actively listening, focusing on finding a solution, and using empathy to understand the other person's perspective.
What are some techniques for simplifying difficult conversations?
Techniques include breaking down the conversation into smaller parts, using clear language, and focusing on the issue at hand.
How can I handle difficult conversations with clients or employees?
By approaching the conversation with empathy, setting clear goals, and focusing on finding a solution that benefits everyone involved.
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Speaker 1: Hi friends, it's Randy and Jess and we're going to cut the bullshit and let's get into women's mental health.
Speaker 1: Welcome to the podcast unapologetically, all over the place, with Randy and Jess, two licensed psychotherapists, where we talk about mental health, well-being and strategies for coping with life's up and downs and challenges, and how it's all normal and you're not alone. Nope, you are in the right place, ladies. In today's podcast episode, we're going to be discussing how to start and have difficult conversations, examples of difficult conversations and types of difficult conversations, and how it's important to approach them, how it's normal. It's part of life, and how you can use these strategies to deal with it effectively.
Speaker 2: Right, we're going to give you some tips on how to have to start and navigate these conversations with confidence and empathy, because that is a huge piece of this.
Speaker 1: Huge, and you can find more tips and resources on randyandjesspodcastcom.
Speaker 2: Okay, have you ever?
Speaker 1: thought I wish I knew what to say. How do I bring up a difficult subject? How do I talk about such a tough topic?
Speaker 2: Is it my place to bring up such a difficult or hard conversation? Why does this?
Speaker 1: difficult topic, feel so awkward and make me feel uneasy.
Speaker 2: Do you hate when people say we have to talk?
Speaker 1: Oh my gosh, i hate that. Or like your boss says we need to talk, or in your relationship we need to talk. It's like dread, like dun dun dun.
Speaker 2: Or that we need to talk later.
Speaker 1: No, no, no, no, let's just talk now.
Speaker 2: Yeah, like all that does is kick up my anxiety and I'm thinking of a million different things and it's like what do you want for dinner, Right? And you're like, wait, wait, all of that was for what do you want for dinner? So?
Speaker 1: what are examples of difficult conversations and what exactly are they So?
Speaker 2: difficult conversations are the ones I mean A there are part of our life, like you had said earlier. They are the things that either we are not taught to talk about, they're subjects that are, you know, we consider. You know I'm air quoting taboo, you want to?
Speaker 1: avoid, or you feel like you need to avoid because we haven't been taught how to have them Right.
Speaker 2: I mean, how do you tell somebody that they really should be wearing deodorant, right? We don't talk about that enough, right?
Speaker 1: Or how do we talk to somebody about how they are not performing at work, things like this? Or, like you said, how do we talk to somebody about if we want to break up with them, like, and do these things in a healthy, like you said, empathetic way? Right?
Speaker 2: It takes an important skill. I mean. That is why there are good managers and bad managers, right? A good manager, you know, can talk about this. So, like I've got this one friend, she can come up and the way she's so good at this, she can tell you you completely suck, but the way she does it, you walk, she walks away and you're like I think she told me I suck, but God, i feel kind of good about it, i'm okay with it. Okay, i'm going to make that change And it's just because the way she does it, with such empathy and wish, such confidence, yeah, and understanding And understanding, she doesn't walk up and go. You suck, but she will talk to you about it And you're like I think she told me my shirt sucks.
Speaker 1: I mean, you know, you're like wait, but yeah, it does the way she said it And like yes, and like I do, like okay, god, i feel so good about myself, right, but those people that can approach you and talk to you that way and have conversations like that are very far and few in between, because we just don't know how to have these conversations. So let's talk about some tips about how to start these conversations and have them And end them on a good note.
Speaker 2: So the first is prepare yourself, right. I always say like write down you know, like kind of what you think you want to talk about, some key words. Write down some you know bullet points about what you are feeling or what you're trying to get across to the other person.
Speaker 1: Right. So it's important to take time to reflect on your feelings and create boundaries around also what you're going to talk about So you don't go off on tangents. We talk about boundaries in episode six and we talk about also how to talk about your feelings and validate them and others in episode 25. So these are very important to think about. Like you said, kind of concise What do you want to talk about? What do you want to get across, so that the other person that you're talking to will also have a clear understanding of where you're coming from?
Speaker 2: And do it not when you haven't had any sleep because you've been up all night wearing about this. Do it when you're rested. Don't do it when you're hangry, because nothing comes across well when you're hangry, right?
Speaker 1: Choose the right time, place, the right setting, like also don't do it with your partner or your friend that's also tired or stressed out or they've had a bad day. You need to find the right environment And, like you said, right timing. You need to be on the right mind frame, too to have this conversation And maybe choose somewhere that's private.
Speaker 2: Don't do it at the dinner table in front of the kids if it's about your partner, and don't do it while you're distracted. Don't do it while you're distracted and don't send a text Oh my gosh, please don't do this.
Speaker 1: Oh, please, No texts can be misconstrued so horribly and that's how most relationships, friendships, whatever like end in like a big kaboom.
Speaker 2: I always say if, when you read a text message, go back and reread it with an upbeat note, right, because we can read it a couple of different ways. We can read it like God, she's such a bitch. Or we could come back and be like, oh, she's in a great mood, that's so good. So I always I don't always try, but sometimes I try to give the benefit of the doubt, right, and it isn't like the toxic positivity kind of thing, no, but it is the. Read it in a different, assuming that they mean well, that's interesting.
Speaker 1: I like that because I think too. tone and body language can also go a long way, so these are ways to make a difficult conversation easier. when you think about the tone that's coming across and like is your body language also coming across? Like you are closed off or are you open, those kind of things matter when you have these conversations.
Speaker 2: Oh yeah, like as a therapist we look for are your arms crossed while you're having this conversation? Like right now I'm cold, right, so my arms are crossed, my legs are crossed, but that could come off as very closed off to somebody else who I'm having a conversation with, right? That's why there's a lot of there's like YouTubes that you can watch about like having difficult conversations, and people will have them with, like their arms, their hands up, right Palms up, because that feels a little bit more open, right, having this open body and relaxed body when you're having a conversation with somebody, it helps them feel relaxed because, believe it or not, we don't all read bodies, but you know they We often mimic other people, right, and we can tell, like, do you remember that? show Light of Me.
Speaker 1: No.
Speaker 2: Okay, it's an old series I don't know how old, but probably like five, 10 years, i don't know But it's a show where he would go through and he could read people and he would show you like all these different faces and you'd be like, oh yeah, that's anger, ooh, that's sadness, oh, that's, you know, fatigue, and he would try to read people based upon their body language. This is his whole drama show. Oh, okay, but I mean, that's what he did.
Speaker 1: Well that's very interesting because I have one of those like brain games or whatever that I do And one of the things is like you can learn more empathy and emotion and understanding, and it has you read people's faces and pick what are they feeling and it'll tell you like if you're like kind of right or wrong, so you can also learn to read people a little bit better, because that is another way that we can grow our brain anyways. So, and it's also important to use eye statements- Okay, so what's?
Speaker 2: I'm gonna practice an eye statement that I hear a lot of people say I'm really upset that you did this, So that's not an eye statement.
Speaker 1: Right, you're twisting that.
Speaker 2: Right an eye statement. If you take your index finger, your pointer finger, and you point it back at yourself the entire time, that is a true eye statement. So I am feeling upset because I feel unheard, or I feel you know unloved, or I feel whatever, I'm not pointing it at somebody else, Yeah you're pointing it back at yourself and how it makes you feel.
Speaker 1: Sometimes, depending on the person, this doesn't always go. It doesn't matter how many eye statements you use, but it can help. It can go a long way in having the other person not feel, maybe, like threatened.
Speaker 2: It can personally attack The minute somebody starts wagging a finger at you.
Speaker 1: Especially if they have a reactive, you know, kind of like overly emotional, like personality type.
Speaker 2: It is important to use these types of statements And it also helps you keep the conversation focused on what you really wanna get across I'm feeling hurt when this happens, right, instead of saying yeah, instead of saying like you always do this, right, cause then we go into those always that black and white, toxic kind of thinking that we had just did a podcast on a couple of episodes ago, right. But when you say I feel hurt when this happens, it takes it a different tone and just lowers it down, right.
Speaker 1: And so part of also having effective communication with these difficult conversations is learning to listen. We think we know how to listen, but we are not very good active listeners as a society.
Speaker 2: If you are formulating a response to what they're saying, you're not actually listening to them. You're already trying to respond to what they, what you think they're going to say, or fix the problem.
Speaker 1: Or, like you said, yeah, like try to. You're trying to put it up into a nice package And it's like, instead of just being present in the moment and hearing what they have to say and absorbing it and then formulating a response in your thoughts afterwards.
Speaker 2: Now, sometimes, when you have somebody who is very long-winded for somebody like me, who's ADHD, right like the play-by-play I call them play-by-players the people who will tell you a story and they give you the play-by-play and you're like, oh god, oh god, i'm gonna lose this, oh god.
Speaker 1: And then we can get to the point, get to the point, get to the point. That's like a. I always say, oh, that's another meeting. That could have been an email Like I'm very much like. Just get down to the bare bones and give that to me.
Speaker 2: Right, and so I call them play-by-players. I'm like I don't need to know what she wore and I don't need to know this. I just need to know what are we talking about. And so it's okay to say can I stop this here for a second right? And if you guys can't see me but I actually put my hand out, not quite like in a stop sign, but sometimes I'll put my hand out like, hey, can we stop for a second? If they're still not stopping, then I'll do the physical stop sign with my hand and say, okay, let's stop.
Speaker 1: I mean.
Speaker 2: so there are body languages that you can put in with this, and it's okay to say I'm getting lost in this conversation. Can we talk about what was just said?
Speaker 1: Yeah, and that also helps refocus the conversation and for everybody to stay focused on the conversation at hand, and especially if you're not understanding. You are trying to active listen and you are trying to be a good communicator, but if you can't get the gist of the topic, it's important to also use your skills to say pause, okay, what is where are we trying to go with this, and not to. We can learn to practice more empathy.
Speaker 2: Yeah, but I want to go back because a lot of people have a hard time reading body language. They do A lot of people and they'll just go on, and, on, and on and on. And you're looking at them like I'm so bored with what you're talking about. I don't know even what it. I just came over to bring over some sugar. What are we?
Speaker 2: talking about What, and so sometimes it's okay to say you know what, i hear you, you know I want to go ahead and talk to this. I'm getting a little lost in this, or you know, can we? I'm not sure what's happening.
Speaker 1: Right, or can we revisit this later?
Speaker 1: Oh, that's a good one More time or I can focus, or can we move this conversation somewhere private, like, if there are distractions, if there are things, if somebody does on the opposite side, if you are not expecting this difficult conversation and it's coming towards you and you are kind of thrown off kilter by it, you can also communicate back. Can we do this at another time? Can we do this in a different setting? This is, you know, don't let somebody kind of stonewall you to where you feel unprepared. You know also use your words and say, hey, okay, i need some time to digest this and process this. Can we, you know, put a bookmark in this and come back to it like tonight or tomorrow?
Speaker 2: I thought stonewalling is when people actually didn't talk to you at all and they avoided you and ignored you, and that was the form of abuse. I probably used it wrong. Then, okay, i was like I'm sitting here, i'm stuck on that, i'm like stonewalling, i know what you're talking about, like bombarding you, and it's okay for you to say you know, i understand. I hear that you're wanting to talk about this difficult conversation. However, i don't have the bandwidth right now, and so can we, you know, couch this, or can we talk about this, you know, after dinner or tomorrow morning, you know, do we need to do this right now?
Speaker 1: So I think those are all really good things to be able to say even to your spouse or kids, Right And bringing into like I understand this may be hard for you to talk to me about practicing that empathy, bring it in And also like I appreciate that you are trying to talk to me about this, or I appreciate that you are sitting here listening to me about this, And this is why I feel this way and why I want to talk about this difficult topic.
Speaker 2: Right, and having empathy will reduce tension, i mean it'll, it'll increase your understanding and show that you're you're at least listening and hearing and you want to understand the other person, right, i mean, you can try to put yourself in their shoes. You can try to understand where they're coming from. Sometimes that's still really hard, but having empathy is something that you can learn and practice, right.
Speaker 1: And and with that comes understanding too, that some of these difficult conversations you may have to have, whether they're in a relationship or the workplace, they may trigger the person that you're talking to And being understanding that, that you know and being understanding that that you know, trigger may happen and this may not go the way that you wanted to, but being like okay, i understand or I see that this is making you upset or uncomfortable, so how can we have this conversation differently? or like how would this make you feel more comfortable? These things like this can help, like you said, like reduce or like improve, and move the conversation in a positive direction.
Speaker 2: And sometimes with your spouse, it is okay to say you know what this is getting me. I'm getting frustrated or I'm getting hot on this topic. Can we take a break and come back in 20 minutes and time the 20 minutes, come back in 20 minutes. And if you're still like I'm not ready for this, ask for another. You know, hit snooze. Can we come back in 30 minutes? I mean, i really want you to be able to come back soon, but make sure you're using that time away as a time for you to breathe or to go on a quick walk, whatever it is that you need to kind of ground yourself. Yes, you're not going away to, like you know, write the bullet points of why they suck.
Speaker 2: It is, it is yeah, even if you want to, i mean, write it in your head but but yeah, it's to ground yourself and be able to go back to them, and you have to go back at 20, even if you're not ready and say I'm ready or I need more time, It's okay.
Speaker 1: This is another important tool, kind of leading away from that. But leaning into that as well, is that follow up after the conversation is over, like check in with that person, see like where are we at with this? you know this idea or this topic that you've talked about. How are you processing it Like, are we moving in the right direction after talking about this and work, you know, maybe you need to follow up with like a phone call or like an email and check in how things are going, like with your you know spouse or partner or friend. You know probably you want to talk to them face to face about those things and be like kind of like Hey, where were after we talked about this and how are you feeling?
Speaker 2: and yeah, even if it's just a text saying Hey, I'm just checking in, right, I'm concerned, I want to see how you're doing, you know, and just remembering to follow through with that to let him know that you know it was important to you what they shared, right, Even if you don't agree with them.
Speaker 1: Yeah, and that's another great way to also kind of strengthen boundaries that you have too, like letting them know that this conversation was important to have, and then it's just not like a one and done like this is going to be a continual conversation. It's important that we had this. That's why it was so difficult, you know. so they're just not like, oh well, they kind of like mentioned it. you know, like in passing and like I'm not going to pay attention to that. you know you're letting them know that this is important.
Speaker 2: Yeah, it's an opportunity for growth and understanding and learning about yourself and others, and it builds trust. Yeah, yeah, i'm sorry my laugh.
Speaker 1: I'm like, yeah, it builds trust Totally. She's like, yeah, of course it does.
Speaker 2: It builds trust, and as you prepare yourself for this you know it's and you follow through you're more than likely going to have a positive outcome. It may not be that they agree with you, but it may be that you at least feel heard.
Speaker 1: Right And that you have least have opened that doorway to more communication, yeah, so we hope these tips and tricks and tools they're not tricks, they're really tools. It's like a viral, like hack We hope that this has helped you guys and that you can use some of these tools to help you build your communication and strengthen your relationships.
Speaker 2: All right, see you next time. Bye.
Speaker 1: Thanks for listening and normalizing mental health with us.
Speaker 2: Don't forget to check out our free resources and favorites on our website, unapologeticallyrandyandjescom.
Speaker 1: Like and share this episode and tune in next week.