Since I talked about influencing relationships and awareness to how you do that, I thought I would share some tips that I have personally found helpful.
- Become okay with the nervousness leading up to it and even during the time you’re discussing.
- I’ve said this before, if you can push through the initial feeling of your ears/face feeling hot, your heart racing, butterflies in your stomach, and/or your hands getting clammy then you can keep going and get through it. It’s NORMAL.
Think about what is making you nervous. Is it the other person’s reaction? What do you think will happen?
a. Thinking about this helps problem solve and even helps plan for possible negative outcomes. “If they react this way, I can…” (planning ahead never hurt anyone).
b. Thinking about this also helps put things in perspective that maybe our fears aren’t substantiated. We may be nervous that the person may get mad and storm out of the room, but they’ve never done that before. So we can nip that false belief in the butt.
- Going off that last one…is the anxiety really about them or you?
- Sometimes we weren’t raised in families where conflict, voicing different opinions, and/or “negative” feelings was acceptable. Hence, we never got the modeling as children and now as grown ups we run away from it. Check yourself. Is it the other person or is it me?
- Bro, it IS me!
- LOL if it is you. It’s okay! Take a deep breath and remind yourself, you are not talking to your mother, your father, your ex girl/boy friend, your fill in the blank.
- I mean if you are, good luck. Just kidding. If you are, go back to #2a and problem solve and/or reconsider if this is a safe person to open up with.
- If you’re not talking to any of those people and this IS a safe person, try to remember who it is you’re talking to (#2b) and whether the beliefs you are holding are really true.
- We all want to be heard. So when in a disagreement or simply a conversation, really listen. Stray away from trying to have the right come back to the person’s statement and instead focus on their words and check for understanding, “I heard you say ….., is that what you meant?” You’d be surprised how many times what you’ve interpreted is actually not what the other person meant.
- I feel
- I think we all know what an “I feel statement” is. Though you may disregard it, I challenge you to use it next time you catch yourself trying to communicate your thoughts and feelings and annoyances and frustrations. Oftentimes we use definitive statements to describe situational happenings, like “you never respond” when I’m sure there has at least been one time where the person responded. Therefore, the likelihood that the person will become defensive is higher. Instead you can say, “When you don’t respond, I feel unimportant.” (but that means you have to be okay with sharing feelings…tun tun tun)
- Last one because I don’t like long list and this seems long already…If you are like me, and can talk for days, practice or write it down.
- I can talk a lot longer than I like to sit down and write. Writing things down or talking it outloud (to yourself or someone trustworthy) can help you keep whatever it is you want to say short and concise, brief and comprehensive. This makes it easier to stick to what really matters instead of pulling things out like…then you stepped on my shoe OR then you changed the spotify station and that sent me over the edge. Like I’m sure that was annoying but I’m almost positive that’s not the underlying issue.
Alright, there you go 7 things that I have personally tried and practice. Use at your own risk, lol, and remember you won’t be perfect but you don’t need to be. Practice makes us better and if we’re trying to become better, we’re on a good path.