I suppose I thought that the hard part was getting my courage up in the first place and things would fall into place from there. (Future me offers up an, “Oh, Sweetie” and a pat on the head.) Dearest, if you’re facing such a situation, allow me to share some advice from Joyce Marter, Licensed Professional Counselor that I wish I’d had in advance.
First, a little prep work can set the stage and make a positive outcome more likely. Getting clear about why this conversation is important to you and what you hope to accomplish is a good place to start. Reviewing your boundaries and shoring them up is key. And of course, timing and setting are critical.
Then decide how you’ll start off the conversation. Probably the worst words a person can hear are “we need to talk”. You can almost hear the dun-dun-duhhhh in the background, right? Marter suggests some better alternatives:
- “I’ve noticed a recurring conversation (conflict, disagreement, problem) we seem to have. I’d like to talk about why that happens.”
- “I want to make sure we are on the same page.”
- “I’m feeling uncomfortable about something, and it’s been weighing on me lately.”
- “This is so awkward to bring up, but because I care so much about you, I want to talk about this.”