This week I am pleased to continue the discussion of ICDP Guideline 6: How do I talk about difficult things with my peers?
I think its safe to say that we have all had difficult things to talk about. Whether you are a parent telling your child that the puppy is sick, or a student telling your teacher about a sick parent or grandparent, there are few easy ways to say difficult things.
This youth adaption addresses similarly to the previous weeks post. It can be frustrating, emotional and flat-out hard to talk about unpleasant topics with your peers. While positively conveying emotions is important, finding ways to talk about difficult things is as well.
Before even having the conversation, consider the simple organization of who, how, when, and why.
Who are you going to talk to about it? Consider the subject matter and the person/people in question. Talking to each of these people can be a slightly different experience. Even if you do decide to talk to everyone about it- you might approach them in different ways and tell them different personal details.
How are you going to tell them? Different ways have different pro’s and con’s. For instance, telling in an email/text message/letter would be less personal, but you don’t have to be there when they read the news. If you leave it like that- you can also leave other materials that might help them understand how to help you better/that you want them to understand before they speak to you. If you are telling them in person, it has a much more personal and sentimental tone, although it can be more emotional. Previous ICDP guidelines account for the value of relationships, especially communication for improvement within them.
When are you going to tell them?
Sometimes what happened just comes stumbling out but it’s usually better to have some sort of plan. The when can be very important when it comes to the responses that you receive from whoever you’re telling. In general, it’s better to not tell someone if you’re in the middle of a fight, when frustrations are high and emotion is negative-or if you know that they’re extremely stressed out. In general the neutral times are best to talk about difficult subjects, especially with a plan.
Why are you going to tell them?
Consider whether or not it will strengthen your relationship, or if it will harm it. In most cases, the intimacy of compassion and trust, as well as the communication helps your friendships/relationships with your peers. Sometimes the knowledge will help them better understand you or what you are going through so they can offer a helping hand.
Have you ever gone through difficult times and reached out to peers? How did you communicate it?