Today, bravery looks like having “The Talk”.
Though I consider myself a “Brave Girl,” I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than intentionally take on an uncomfortable conversation. But because this is a “Brave Community,” and because we can embrace our fears safely here, let’s just do it.
“The Talk” is a difficult conversation that is needed to address a problem that arises, but no one wants to talk about it. Here are some examples:
- You’re dating someone that isn’t a good fit and you need to end the relationship.
- Your kid is doing something that you know is harmful and you need to discuss it.
- You have an employee that is not performing and you need to put them on notice.
- A friend is gossiping about you behind your back and you need to talk it out.
- You co-lead a project with someone who is not doing his/her share and you need to address it.
Do any of these situations sound familiar? Or at least the implied discomfort? For most of us, “The Talk” = Confrontation, and we will avoid it for as long as possible. And because inaction feels better, evasion often appears more logical, for example:
- Saying something will create a bigger problem
- It could put the relationship at risk
- It isn’t necessary as the situation will probably go away on its own
Don’t those sound more logical? They might, but the truth is that we can only dodge the problem for so long. When things feel this bad, we know that avoidance is a short term bandage when an action-based solution is called for.
It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.
What situation in your own life needs addressing? What person do you need to have “The Talk” with? If you are ready to dive in, I have 5 Tips to Ease Tough Conversations:
- If the relationship matters, say so, at the beginning and throughout as needed. It will remind everyone that there is more at stake than the conversation alone.
- Communicate what you want to achieve; this goal will be the ballast if things get off track and will keep you both centered.
- Be ready for a reaction, as you’ll probably get one; it pays to think through how you can validate them without agreeing with them, and again, hold to the goal.
- Pick a protected time and place for the conversation. Privacy is important, as is the ability to focus without distractions. TVs, cell phones off.
- Take a deep breath, stop talking and listen. Discomfort makes us over-talk, and these hard conversations are better when there is space for someone to react.
I call these “Courageous Conversations” for a reason. They require bravery and a willingness to risk discomfort in favor of a greater goal. Win or lose, just having these difficult conversations often makes us stronger… and making them happen successfully can result in all manner of positive outcomes. Win/win/win.
If you’ve been there, I’d love to hear from you. And if you are going to try it, let me know how it goes. Your experiences will be a continuing contribution to our “Brave Community.”
Be brave. Make it happen. Have “The Talk”.