We cannot assume that people around us know how we are feeling. The importance of knowing how to communicate your needs and how you feel cannot be overstated.
This can apply to your partner, your children, your friends or at work. I know you may have had a bad experience with expressing yourself, but don’t give up.
Hard conversations are worth it, they lead to an easier life. Here are a few strategies to make it easier:
Ask yourself what the goal of the conversation is.
Be clear on your intentions of the conversation with the other person. “I would like to talk about….Do you have a few moments to hear my thoughts on this…I would like to see how we could reach some common ground on…..”. Do not skate around the issue or try to “trick” them into talking.
Be honest with yourself about any assumptions you may be making about the other person. How is your attitude? How have YOU contributed to the problem? If you are still upset give it some time before having the conversation. Delay is your friend here.
Be curious about the other persons perspective, try to pretend you do not know anything about the issue and start with a clean slate for discussion.
Do not back down or hide your own feelings when things get a little bit heated or there is a disagreement. Remain calm, keep listening and expressing yourself as kindly and calmly as you can. It is ok to disagree, it is normal! Humans are complex and rarely on the exact same page. Just keep refocusing on the main issue and purpose of the discussion.
As a practice we work with couples and families to help improve communication and find solutions to problems. Reach out!