Having "The Talk": How to Handle the Most Difficult Relationship Conversations

The “I’m Mad at You” Talk

After the initial honeymoon stage of your relationship wears off, a fight every now and then is inevitable. While you may be angry at something your guy did, kicking, screaming and breaking out into World War III will get you nothing but a noise complaint. Though your hopes and dreams of a fight-free relationship are being shattered, remember arguments are normal and, even more importantly, necessary.

What to Say:
Cassidy suggests bringing it up by saying, “I don’t want to make this a big deal, but something’s been bugging me and I just wanted to talk to you about it before it turns into a bigger issue.”

How to Deal:
“Understand that your guy may have a totally different perception of the issue than you do. Approach the conversation with curiosity and an attempt to figure out where each other is coming from.” Olver says. “Seek a solution that can work for both of you after each of you has heard the other person’s point of view. There is no room for judgments or criticisms here; you are simply trying to understand each other and create a win/win/win solution where you win, he wins and your relationship grows stronger through the process.”

The “I Did Something Wrong” Talk

It’s never easy to fess up to doing something wrong. Whether small, like ripping his favorite sweater while rocking the “boyfriend” look, or large, like kissing another guy at a party, starting a conversation that you know probably won’t end well can be next to impossible. Before you decide to overlook the entire incident and hope your boyfriend will never find out, think again. These things have a way of making themselves known sooner or later.

What to Say:
Keeping the Band-Aid effect in mind (do it quickly and get it over with), Cassidy suggests saying, “I need to talk to you about something. But, before I do I just want you to know that I didn’t mean to hurt you and it won’t happen again, ok?”

How to Deal:
“Be ready to face the consequences and remember that guys tend to process things internally,” Olver says. He might be mad and not want to talk to you for a while so give him the space he needs to work it out. Once a few days have passed, if it takes that long, contact him to see where your relationship stands and respect his answer.”

We Had the Talk
…and it was a disaster, says Katrina*. “The talk was all my fault, which led to a blow up and a break up. It was a disaster and we both still love each other but we hurt each other very badly and don't know how to talk to one another about it effectively.”

Three Things to Keep In Mind While Having Your Talk

Pick the Right Place
When approaching touchy subjects, be sure to do so in a private and quiet place where both you and your guy will feel comfortable. Yes, you may be royally pissed off at your boyfriend for checking out your best friend’s butt two minutes ago at a party, but leave the situation alone until you leave.

Use Your Inside Voice
Unfortunately, many of us think if we yell, our point will be better understood. This is one hundred percent not true. If the conversation begins to get particularly heated, take a big breath, count to three and restart in a calmer voice.

Have a Goal in Mind
Much as you try to prepare for these conversations, they’ll likely not go off exactly as planned. Nerves, special circumstances, and offbeat responses from your guy can throw a wrench in the conversation you’d perfectly scripted in your head. That being said, remember what you wanted to discuss going into the talk and try not to deviate too much from that topic.

So, It seems as if having a “talk” isn’t as scary when you prepare yourself for the before, during, and after. We polled real college girls to see which of these conversations they’d be most nervous to have and here is what they said.

Which “talk” makes you the most nervous?

*Names have been changed.
Kim Olver, lifestyle coach and author
Cassidy Quinn Brettler, Her Campus Real Live College Girl
Anonymous College Girls