difficult conversations

How to Have Difficult Conversations

A majority of people tend to shy away from having hard conversations with the ones they love. It can feel intimidating, and uncertainty about the outcome of having these conversations often keeps people from engaging in them. If you are considering confronting someone you know, feeling stressed is a normal reaction. Let’s talk about how you can be prepared to approach difficult topics with your loved one and when to pull in more support.

When is a Confrontation Necessary?

It is often with the ones we love that we notice changes first. Whether it’s a difference in behavior, appearance, or a combination of the two, these shifts can be alarming. Sometimes changes are good and a normal part of the passing of time, but other times, new behaviors become quickly concerning. If you’re noticing a change in someone you love that is negatively affecting their well-being or the well-being of the people around them, it’s time to consider sitting them down for a serious conversation.

Your Guide to Difficult Conversations

If you’re noticing patterns of behavior and are thinking about having a hard conversation with someone, here are some guidelines to help ensure the talk you have with them is both effective and compassionate. 

  1. Make Space to Listen: It’s easy to fall into the trap of listing out all of your concerns without leaving time for your loved one to talk. While it’s important for them to understand where you are coming from, they also need to know that you hear and see their perspective. They might feel defensive about the behaviors you bring up, so provide them the opportunity to talk as much as possible while still emphasizing your concerns. Practice active listening techniques to help your loved one feel heard and understood.
  2. Emphasize a Judgment-Free Conversation: Because a person is likely to feel defensive about their change in behavior, when starting these conversations, emphasize that your concerns are not coming from a place of judgment. These concerns do not reflect the person’s character because, often, the concern is brought on from a difference between their actions and the type of person you know they are. 
  3. Make Note of Their Strengths: While the goal of this talk is to bring to your loved one’s attention some concerns you have about their behavior, take time to let them know the positive attributes you see in them. By emphasizing your loved one’s strengths, you are giving them encouragement and something to draw upon as they face their challenges now and in the future. This practice also lets them know that you see beyond your concerns to the good that’s within them.
  4. Offer Support: Facing any type of challenge can feel isolating and overwhelming. Let your loved ones know that you are there for them throughout the process of any changes that need to be made. Whether they need to seek treatment or need accountability for some of their concerning behaviors, having support can make a huge difference in the longevity of their recovery. 

Support for Having Difficult Conversations

Navigating difficult conversations is never an easy process, but you are not alone. If you are considering having a hard discussion with someone you love but need additional support, Whitman Recovery Service can help. 

Our team of intervention specialists is available to help you successfully confront the concerning behavior you’re noticing in your loved one, whether it is related to substance use, mental health, or a dual diagnosis. Contact us today to learn more about the Texas intervention services we offer and begin your loved one’s path towards change.