5 tips for having uncomfortable conversations

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Have you ever been in a conversation that takes an uncomfortable turn? Ganel-Lyn Condie shared five tips for what to do when the conversation gets uneasy.

  1. Redirect
    • ​​​​​​​If someone brings something up at a party or family gathering that is triggering an argument, try to redirect the conversation.
    • For example, “There are so many opinions on that issue. I would love to hear about your trip to Europe.”
  2. Answer honestly but respectfully
    • You can let them know it’s a sensitive subject without sharing too much.
    • For example, “So, I heard you just got fired?” “Yeah, it was difficult. But it is giving me a chance to reevaluate some things and consider new adventures.” Or you could simply say, “This subject is uncomfortable for me right now.”
  3. Acknowledge knowledge
    • If someone is overly critical on a Facebook post or is passionate about a subject at Sunday dinner, try saying, “It sounds like you have a lot of experience or thoughts about this subject. What’s your background?” or “I would love to understand more about your perspective.”
  4. Change the topic
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This is helpful when a group starts gossiping.
    • You could bring up TV shows, weather, restaurants or sports for example.  Say something like, “Who has been to Hawaii?” Make sure you smile when changing the subject.
  5. Define words
    • Sometimes we say trigger words that we assume everyone knows the meaning of.
    • Ask others how they might define words such as empathy, support and honesty.
    • You could say something like, “Help me understand what you mean by that.”

For more from Ganel-Lyn visit ganellyn.com.

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