DEAR ALEX: How do I have a hard conversation with someone when I don’t have courage?

Dear Alex: How do I have a hard conversation with someone when I don’t have the courage?


Dear Troubled:

I have had to deal with many tough conversations in my life, so I have some knowledge about this. I believe that the best way to have these conversations is to keep the other person more passive. Do not use the word you if you are going to accuse someone of something. Use “I feel” statements or try to avoid the word you altogether. The word “you” has an accusing connotation. It will make most people defensive, and your conversation will no longer be productive.
Always keep your goals for the conversation in mind. Prioritizing yourself is vital; that is something I had to learn the hard way. You are the only one responsible for your happiness, and trying to please everyone will lead to you being unhappy in life.

If your conversation is about your peers mistreating you, then you need to keep yourself in mind. Think critically about what they want and what you want. If they are requesting something that is not reasonable, then you need to learn to say no. You should remember that you should not have to take abuse in your life. If they aren’t listening to what you want, then you can leave. There are billions of people, so why should you let one person make you feel bad?

If your conversation is with your parents, it is a different story. If it is something like coming out to your parents, then the best thing you can do is go for it. Tell them when you feel comfortable about it. Your parents will love you unconditionally. They will accept you immediately, or they will warm up to the idea but accept and love you for who you are. If your parents are an odd case, and they will not accept you no matter what, you are not in the wrong for severing contact with them. Being accepted for who you are is something you deserve, and you should not take any abuse from people.

Hopefully, something in here helps you out; I think I covered a few common scenarios. The main takeaways are to be up front and to do it sooner rather than later. Having this future conversation will loom over you. It is very draining to have in the back of your mind. Just be confident, and you will do great, and you will feel better for putting the conversation past you no matter the outcome.

– Alex