At some point you have had or will have a tough conversation. Whether with a friend, a neighbor, a colleague, or a family member, confrontation is never easy.
Because you dislike confrontation, and because it is so difficult, you often do anything to avoid confronting others.
These conversations usually occur because you care about the person, you have been hurt, or you do not want someone else to get hurt.
Whatever the reason, confronting another person is never easy when you care.
The reason you fear such conversations just may be because you lack the tools for having healthy confrontation.
The following are some suggested tools for healthy confrontation.
1. Always begin with giving the benefit of the doubt. First, begin by allowing the person to give their reason(s) for the behavior you are confronting them about.
You don’t always know the reason for someone’s hurtful behavior. Even if you think you know, it is still best to begin by letting them explain. This approach usually opens up the conversation because you are not forcing the other person to defend their behavior but to explain it.
2. Separate emotions from behavior. You can easily get caught up in the emotions of a situation and miss the facts of the behavior. Give yourself some time to identify exactly what you are feeling as well as what you are confronting the person about.
Can you separate the precise reason for confronting this person from what you are feeling? And can you make that distinction during the conversation? Many conversations begin well-intended but end horribly when emotions take over.
3. Begin the conversation positively. Tell the person what they mean to you and how much you value the relationship. Be sure to let them know that you are having this conversation because you care and place great value on the relationship.
Start with positives up front and try not to lose sight of them throughout the conversation. After all, the positives are the reason you are risking this confrontation in the first place.
4. Focus on the issue. Along with separating emotions from behaviors, point 2 above, this is probably the most challenging aspect when confronting someone. It is very easy to bring up past behaviors and issues when trying to make your point.
Generally when this happens the conversation does not end well. Make every effort to stay focused on the issue. One of the best ways to do this is to write down the precise issue you need to address.
5. Maintain healthy boundaries. Avoid name calling, raising your voice, or putting down or disrespecting the other person during the confrontation. Always treat the other person in the same manner you would like to be treated.
At the same time, do not allow the other person to treat you badly during the conversation. You must set boundaries for how you allow others to treat you.
Confrontation will never be easy or welcomed for most of us, but it is a necessary part of healthy relations. If you have and wish to maintain meaningful relationships, you will have to deal with confrontation.
While not always easy nor welcomed you can work toward positive and healthy outcomes if you enter into confrontational situations carefully and prepared, applying the suggested tools above.
Before your next confrontation–even if it is a current one–take some time and go over the situation applying the tools suggested above. Then attempt to have a more healthy and helpful confrontation.
If you would like help in achieving your goals in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.