Dealing with conflict conversations

I am not sure where the tool I am going to write about came from, but I needed it recently to help me overcome my fear of speaking to someone. I’d avoided this conversation like the Germans avoided the Maginot line in World War Two (BOOM! history). I’d given it such a wide berth it was now much harder to have that chat. Now I had to deal with my nerves and the trepidation I felt. But now was a good time, before it wouldn’t be anymore. Before I lost the chance. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

The tool in question isn’t anything difficult. You won’t need a degree to understand how it works or to use it. The simple ones are often the most effective as they can be put into action. Unfortunately they are often passed over because they seem too simple. I have always found any mental or physical aid that can be tested and evaluated with minimal fuss is worth trying. This is one of those tools.

Quite simply it looks like this:

Write 👉🏽 read 👉🏽 breathe 👉🏽 speak 👉🏽 repeat

  1. Write out what you want to say. For now detail the whole lot that’s on your mind, you will edit it down later. This helps you get a lot of the "agggghhhh, shit, you, grrr, blah" out of your head.

  2. Read through (in your head) what you have written. You will read it aloud in a moment.

  3. Breathe in deeply through your nose and out slowly through your mouth three times.

  4. Speak aloud everything you have written, warts and all! (Nobody is listening)

  5. Repeat the lot from step 1. This time through when you write it down take out anything that you think is a “bit much”. This is not to censor yourself, but I am assuming that you want to continue a relationship with this person and not burn it down completely never to return. If that is your aim then leave it in and say everything you want to say!

Tom’s tip: If you’ve held back from being open and honest with someone for a long time then you can expect to have a lot on your mind that you will write down. I’d recommend you don’t do it all at once. Just start small with one issue that you think will give you some immediate relief without being a mountain to climb. Once you’ve had that first conversation you can begin to approach the other issues that are more difficult to talk about.

This is just the beginning, so it is going to feel difficult and perhaps not go exactly as planned. This is ok. Allow yourself for it to be ok if you cry, shout, laugh whilst talking. Just let it out because you’ll feel a whole lot better for it. Also allow them to do the same. Don’t let their emotions surprise you, they are human beings too. My recommendation is that this is the first conversation of many. We can only get better at a skill through practice. So use the tool above and talk more once you get started. Just leave a couple of days between each at least, so that you can both process and recover.

The tool above is to help you practice and prepare not procrastinate with. Eventually we will have to have our difficult conversation. I’d encourage you to make a deadline to have done it by. By all means take a few days to practice, or a week, but set a target. You know what is best for you. Then find a place you feel safe and comfortable to talk (whether on the phone or in person) and remember to breathe and take your time. You’ve got this.

Let me know how you get on and I’ll do the same.

Tom :)