Three Secrets About Difficult Conversations

Why would you need to pay a professional to have a family meeting? I mean, it's just a conversation, right?

Let's get back to that question in a moment. First, I am going to let you in on a few secrets about difficult conversations.

Secret #1: A difficult conversation isn’t just a conversation. Difficult conversations are gut wrenching and stressful and confusing. It is a struggle to think clearly through the fog of emotions and uncertainty. When it’s your loved one, it’s not just a conversation. Secret #2: Difficult conversations are rarely about just one thing. We may go in thinking the topic in front of us is simple. Humans simplify. We categorize. It’s what we do. But a discussion about co-parenting may really be a discussion about scheduling, finances, schooling, and holidays.

It is essential to root out the hidden topics and have smaller, more manageable discussions about each. If we try to have one big discussion about co-parenting, we can miss hidden problems that will crop up later, or hidden solutions we wish we’d found earlier! Secret #3: Familiar solutions aren’t solutions. Have you ever had a difficult conversation that felt like it went well at the time but you quickly found yourself right back where you started? Difficult conversations are uncomfortable and we generally try to get out of them as quickly as possible. So we reach for the first reasonable solution we can find. But familiar solutions are one of the reasons we remain stuck and keep circling back to the same problems. We need to spend a bit more time in those difficult conversations, as unpleasant as they may be. That is where the best solutions are hiding.

Difficult conversations aren't your garden variety family discussions. They are heavy topics and many families need a little help. This is where the guidance of a family mediator can be so valuable. In my experience, families rarely regret their choice to work with a family mediator; except perhaps that they didn't try it sooner.

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