Updated: Aug 10, 2021
Over the years I’ve had to have the occasional hard conversation, how about you?
It may have been with your parents, spouse, teen, adult child, boss or to a team. If we’re feeling slighted it’s easy to just blurt out what we want to say and then wonder why all hell breaks loose! The result is that the other person may feel blamed and misunderstood so they blast back or retreat.
A good tip before delivering your message is to speak only after you have prayed to get your heart soft and right. In other words you may have to forgive if necessary so that you are not coming from a place that wants to get even.
Then it’s a good idea to prepare your message before delivery so that you do not find yourself worse off than before.
Here are some ways to prepare what you want to say:
If you’re feeling passive and it feels like a lose/win situation this is generally an indication that you need to be assertive, which considers the rights of both sides, to result in a win/win situation.
Assertive three-part statements go like this:
I feel… about (the situation) … what I would prefer is…
An example might be: 'Sometimes I feel I’m being taken for granted, when the dishes are always left on the sink for me to do. What I’d love instead would be if you could give me a hand with them each night please.'
Notice there is no blame attached which could cause a defensive reaction back.
Another way to deliver your messages to use the sandwich method, that includes two pieces of bread on either end of the delivery, or positive encouragement with the meat or the harder stuff that needs to be said in the middle.
It might look like this: 'I love when you cook, I always enjoy eating your delicious meals. Could you please help with the pans after you’ve cooked by soaking them to make them easier to clean? I would really appreciate that help. I can’t wait until you cook that bolognaise again, that sauce is very tasty.'
One other good conversation helper is the use of questions rather than telling someone a thing or two which could end up in a battle from feeling blamed. Instead find out how they are feeling about things so that you can empathise and then share your view.
Here is an example: 'I know things have been a bit tense between us lately, how do you see things?' (They answer). 'I do understand you must have felt misunderstood, I’m sorry please forgive me, I didn’t mean it that way. I can see your point of view and I will consider that next time. I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged myself by some of the words that have been spoken so I hope you can also be sensitive to my point of view too.'
Lastly, it’s important when needing to tell the truth to someone that it’s spoken in love, (Eph. 4:15), because both points of view are valuable and deserve to be said and heard appropriately with care and consideration. Even though your message may be a difficult one to bring, your words can be a beautiful, encouraging message, bringing life to the hearer.
'... Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.' Ephesians 4:29 NLT
Love Peta XO
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