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3 Simple Ways to Facilitate Tough Conversations

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

Listen, I know tough conversations are just that, tough. Whether it be with your significant other, your parents or a friend, a hard conversation is still tricky to navigate. Here are 3 things to keep in mind the next time you plan to have a tough talk.

Be honest and transparent

You’ve heard this a hundred times before but trust me it is so important to speak clearly and honestly. Sometimes it may sound harsh, try your best to choose your words carefully and precisely, but no pressure! This conversation is happening for a reason so if you need to expand on a statement that may have sounded a little too rough this is the space to do so. Being able to convey your feelings or address the issue clearly will help you and the other person involved move forward in a more open-minded and accepting space.

Think about it beforehand: questions and goals

 Why are you having this conversation? What do you want to gain out of this intimate and tough interaction? Do you want a better relationship? Boundaries? Whatever it is, prepare for this as if you’re going to a work meeting, a really hard class you need to always pay attention to. Do your homework for this conversation. Something worse than a tough conversation is arriving at one ill prepared, or not knowing how to navigate it. Having a tough conversation with a lack of prep or thought will lead you to an aimless conversation where the situation at hand may not be properly addressed; you may even leave the conversation more confused than when you arrived to it. That’s not the goal with discussion of this nature. Before you open up this space make sure to jot down questions, concerns, thoughts and resolutions to the dilemma at hand.

Be patient and actively listen 

This seems like an inherent thing to do with a discourse of this kind, but much like the previous point, take notes. Yes, you want to butt in, maybe defend yourself, say your side of the story, but I insist let the person, or persons, express themselves. As they are talking, take notes of the things you want to address later on. This way, when it is your turn to talk you aren’t lost, and you won’t miss any of your points because they have all been jotted down. Not only is this great for your side of the conversation, but you can also make sure to address the other person’s concerns as well, so nothing is left unaddressed.

There’s an endless list of ways to facilitate a difficult conversation, but I have found that these three are especially beneficial. I know it’s weird to prepare for a conversation like you would in a meeting or to bring a paper and pen to take notes, but once you get over the initial “this feels ridiculous,” or “I’m doing too much,” you’ll reap the benefits. Your conversations and relationships will thank you. 

Alondra is a bright, smiley, cow-loving student majoring in Psychology and minoring in both biology and philosophy. She is also a pharmacy technician and hopes to one day become a doctor. On her day to day she is running from one place to another and being vocal about her activism. Alondra tends to be a busy bee and also a social butterfly. When she's not busy you will find her in a hammock and hanging out with her friends or family. She is also a proud puertorican, a libra , a Halloween fanatic and a mom to a lovely pitbull mix named Bella Rose