Learning To Have Difficult Conversations

Wisdom from Dr.Henry Cloud:

“Learning to have a difficult conversation helps you solve problems.

Now, this seems obvious, but it’s an important benefit of confrontation. Boundary conversations are geared towards addressing and resolving an issue that is keeping two people apart or is hurtful to someone. When things work well, a problem is solved and you can move on in the relationship. This can apply to all sorts of relational problems:

your date’s sexual advances
your spouse’s fiscal irresponsibility
your boss’s unrealistic demands

The world just works this way. When you expose problems to the light of your relationship, it is far more likely that things will improve than when you ignore or deny them. Problems don’t tend to go away by themselves over time. They often get worse. And that is the converse principle here: What is ignored tends not to be solved.

Part of the uniqueness of a boundary conversation is the two things that make it the most effective — focus and an agenda. It is not generalized dissatisfaction with a person; rather, it points out some specific issue that is driving two people apart. People who confront well make a clear request for change from the other person:

spend time with me
stop getting so angry
take responsibility for your addiction

The emphasis is not on renovating the entire person—which can be overwhelming—but on solving a specific problem.”