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How to have a difficult conversation, without losing your conversation partner along the way.
How to have a difficult conversation

How to begin?

Begin with yourself. You have a grievance. Someone at work or at home is not treating you as well as you deserve, and you want to have it out with them. (Well: to be fair, you don’t want to have the conversation, but you want the problem resolved).

How to begin? You are rightly concerned that the conversation might turn out poorly, making things worse.

Which is true, unless you lay the ground work and prepare.

Lay the groundwork.

How do you do the work of asking yourself what’s actually going on here? Just because you feel bad doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to engage with a co-worker or romantic partner in a difficult conversation.

The problem with most difficult conversations is a lack of preparation.

How do you lay the ground work?


  • Let them know you want to talk.
  • Set a time to talk that works for both of you.
  • Do your own preparation.

How do you prepare?

Start with writing. Writing is one of the best ways to actually see the problem clearly.

As you write, ask yourself these questions:


  • What is my actual complaint?
  • Why is it so upsetting to me?
  • What do I want to happen moving forward?

Start here.

Commit to the bit. Meaning: Don’t stuff your feelings. If you have something to talk through with someone at work or at home, make a personal commitment to lay the groundwork and prepare. Do some writing. Then, invite your conversation partner to the table.

The takeaway:

Have the difficult conversations with the people you care about connecting with, after laying the groundwork and preparing.

Read more.

Want more help?

I can help you have the difficult conversations that matter to you.
And you have a couple of options for your next step. You could contact me and describe what you’re going through. And I’ll be in touch with suggestions. Or you can book a free session to make a time to get together and talk it over in person. Either way, I’m here to help you focusovercome resistance, and get moving again.

Get focused and Get moving.