Are you wondering how to speak up for yourself and get what you want? I get it. Asking for what you want is incredibly difficult, especially for women.
Tonight I have to have a difficult conversation with my boyfriend. I am dreading it. I am sitting here thinking about what to say and what he is going to say and how he could hate me, maybe even break up with me, by the end of it.
As a result, I am really questioning whether I should even bring it up at all or I should let my issue go, no matter how unhappy I am.
The life coach in me knows that while my hesitations and fears are real, there are many approaches that I can take that will allow us to have a successful conversation, one where I can stand up for myself and be more assertive so that I can be happy
What can I do to ensure that the conversation is productive and allows us both to walk away happy?
#1 – I won’t assume anything.
As I sit here thinking about what tonight is going to look like, I am visualizing all sorts of reactions from my boyfriend around what I am going to say. Some are calm, some are angry, some involve tears.
The worse scenarios are what I am most focused on, the things that I fear the most. That he will hate me or break up with me and be upset with me.
And they are all that I can think about. Almost more even than the content of the talk. I just don’t know what will happen and it worries me.
But I know that I have to let go of those projected outcomes. I have NO IDEA how he is going to react and to spend even one minute perseverating about what they might be is a complete waste of time.
So, I let have to let them go and accept that whatever happens will happen and that I can’t control the outcome by thinking about it ahead of time.
#2 – I will choose the right time and place.
When my kids were little and I had to discuss something difficult with them I always chose to do it in one of two places: in the car or on a walk.
I have found it very effective to have difficult conversations with someone when side by side instead of face to face. I think that perhaps it makes each participant a little less vulnerable and gives them a moment more to react to a statement. The eyes can say so much, sometimes quickly, which can cause the conversation to devolve in some way.
I also always chose a time that was not stressful. Tonight my boyfriend is coming over for dog therapy, pizza, and football. His top 3 things in this world. He will be happy and then we will begin. Softly.
By choosing a good time and place to talk, I am setting myself up to be more confident in what I want because I know that I will be more comfortable in the situation and more able to speak my truth.
#3 – I will not attack.
My goal in this conversation is to have an effective, difficult talk. One that lands on its mark, allows me to be assertive and has a satisfactory end result. To do this, it’s important not to attack.
My boyfriend is struggling with a few issues in our relationship. I will tell him that I have a feeling that he is struggling and that I would like to support him in any way.
What I will not say is “Why are you doing these stupid things over and over?”
I can guarantee that the only thing that will do is shut him down. And make him leave.
By talking about how you feel, vs how he is behaving, you can not only be clearer in your discussion, because really the only accurate perspective that you have is yours, and also you will prevent a quarrel because he can’t push back against your feelings in a way that he could push back against your accusations.