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It’s hard to have a conversation when only one person wants to talk.

Usually when there’s something difficult I need to talk about, I try to set up a time. Sometimes a neutral location, or going on a walk, can really help as well. Something where neither person has an emotional upper hand, and both have agency in coming to the table.

It doesn’t always work, and I don’t always remember. The more I’ve bottled something, the worse I get at employing these techniques.

What’s the best way to have a difficult conversation?


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The best way to have a difficult conversation? As soon as possible. Not the kind of answer you are reaching for, I gather. And by jolly, not even remotely close to how these two have been handling, well, all of it.

I didn’t have any answer in mind. I was just curious if people had different techniques they’d recommend. I happen to agree with you, faster is generally better. Unless both parties are so deeply entrenched in a pattern or exceptionally strong emotion that it makes communication impossible.

And yeah, definitely not even remotely close to how these two are handling things. Part of why I wanted to have a chapter dedicated to the two of them getting their dirty laundry aired. They need to get beyond this…so we can get back to gods and conspiracies.

Mizha, your privilege is showing. You want to apologize, but Zhiro doesn’t want to hear it. It’s not his job to forgive you, or even listen. It’s just a shame that Zhiro doesn’t know all of what happened in Mizha’s head with the Rainbow Goddess and such, but, again, not his job. Mizha has to show him that she’s sorry, and then maybe he’ll be ready to listen.

I think that as far as uncomfortable topics go, scheduling a time in a neutral place is a good way to start. It’s also important to be clear about what you want to discuss in case, like with Zhiro, the other person isn’t ready yet. Not just “I want to talk to you,” but “I want to talk to you about X thing.” It’s uncomfortable to be so bald about it, but you can’t spring something like that on a person. They need time to get used to the idea, or they might react out of fear or anger. They need time to prepare themselves.

I like scheduling too, although it doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve had it work out where the other person started imagining really, REALLY Worst Case Scenarios, so by the time we talked they were completely out of their mind with worry. Although I guess that made the actual bad news I had seem pretty mundane and mild comparatively?

Still, I feel like asking if someone can talk about X at Y time is a lot more respectful. It lets the other person have some agency in the conversation. Tends to break down with bottling, which is the case for Mizha, because she’s sat on this for so long that it’s eaten through her ability to wait. Like an emotional pressure that is now going to come out regardless of whether it’s a good way to release it or not.

Yeah, I’ve run into that issue with my boyfriend a lot. The only solution I’ve found is to put aside whatever you’re feeling in order to try and reassure them, at least if you’re trying to repair the relationship. And, at a certain point, you do have to let them manage themselves. But it never hurts to be nice.

I think the best way to have a difficult conversation depends on the individuals involved.

But, I guess for me, after a good venting session with a neutral third party, so that I’m less inclined to vent at the person I need to talk to. And, after I’ve had enough space that I can really think about the things I like about the other person, so that I can come to the table with the most empathy for them possible.

When I’m angry and hurt and I’ve not taken space to be angry and hurt, then having that empathy hurts me more. But, having a difficult conversation while still being angry and hurt also makes it go significantly less well. Taking some space first … gives an opportunity to find a middle ground. I can’t get rid of the entirely hurt until I’ve talked about it, but I can manage it and make it smaller.

Most reasonable people won’t say “hey, you didn’t tell me in the moment so its off limits to tell me now”. People who do say that aren’t good fits for me, and that’s okay. No one can be a good fit for everyone, and I don’t have to interact further with them. 🙂

You raise a really valuable point about how most reasonable people will be okay talking about something after a delay. And healthy people, even if they don’t remember an event, can still respond with respect and even acknowledgement.

Third parties can also be AMAZINGLY helpful. I think that’s one of the best aspects of working with my therapist for me. I’ve learned I kinda need to process emotions verbally, and that makes having a conversation about them really hard because often I need to word-vomit everything on my mind and sift through the mess before I can actually figure out what’s really wrong. If I can do that with a neutral third party, then I can actually have a productive conversation with the other person that properly addresses the problem.

I’ve never heard about the technique you mentioned, with thinking about the positives of the other person, but I can see how valuable that would be. As long as the relationship was a healthy one, going through that exercise in a way that acknowledges the good while still being firm on the problem could really help reduce tension for both parties. Which means a meaningful dialog is much more likely to happen.

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