Why does he avoid serious conversations

Do you and your partner avoid certain topics because the conversation will become heated? Maybe you dread discussing parenting techniques or how much services for your child cost.

Why does he avoid serious conversations

Do you and your partner avoid certain topics because the conversation will become heated? Maybe you dread discussing parenting techniques or how much services for your child cost. These tips can help ease tough talks.

1. Give up the need to be right.

Even before you ask to sit down for a talk, remind yourself that its all about finding a solution to a problem. And that the solution will likely affect your whole family. So it doesnt matter whos right or wrong. What matters is that the two of you are working together to improve things. Also remember that the best and most creative solutions often come from embracing different points of view.

2. Choose the right time to talk.

Nobody likes being buttonholed right when they walk in the door from work or when theyre in a rush. Instead, chat when youre both at your best. Ideally, try to talk after youve both had a chance to unwind and can focus on your conversation. Even if youve set up a time in advance for your discussion, its a good idea to ask, Is this still a good time to talk? If necessary, find a better time. Your conversation will benefit.

3. Start the conversation positively.

Show how much you appreciate your partners willingness to talk about the difficult topic and to work with you to find a solution. You might say something like, Thanks for talking about this issue with me. Its really been weighing on my mind. But I always feel better when we can think things through together.

4. Stay focused on the problem at hand.

This is not the time to bring up your relationships ancient history or other problems. But even if you stick to the topic, your partner might not. To keep things on track, you might say something like, Lets talk about one thing at a time, or, Id be happy to talk about that issue tomorrow. But lets work on this problem today.

5. While your partner is talking, just listen.

Listening is key to making difficult conversations work. And that means truly hearing what your partner is saying when youre having a discussion. Try to stop yourself from interrupting. Dont start thinking about your next comment while your partner is mid-sentence. Stay present and try to absorb your partners comments before you start talking. And try to keep from making hasty judgments.

6. Reflect what you hear even if you dont agree.

One way your partner will know that youre really listening is to reflect back what youve heard. You might begin with something like, Let me see if I fully understand what youre saying. Experts call this skill reflective listening. It can help keep stressful situations from escalating and get things back on track when participants are getting upset.

7. Fight fair.

Nothing kills a productive conversation faster than accusations. Dont accuse your partner of causing the problem or of avoiding the issue. Try not to assign blame. And avoid statements like, You always do this! Why? Your partner is likely to feel defensive and may even counterattack. And that will probably shut down your conversation and halt whatever progress you two were making.

8. Try to find something you agree with.

Maybe you strongly believe the opposite of what your partner is saying. But is there any crossover in your feelings? Even a little consensus can help you both feel like youre beginning to contribute to a solution. I know you think we shouldnt let Lily play until shes finished her homework, you might say. I agree that her homework is very important, and she needs to get through all of it. I just think itll be easier if she gets a break in the middle.

9. Take a time-out if you must.

No matter how hard you try, your discussion may reach a point where its too heated to continue. Consider setting up a time-out signal before you start. Or say something like, Lets stop for now, and set a time to speak again within 24 hours. When youre both calm, try approaching the conversation once again. If challenges persist, you might want to see a professional like a minister or a therapist to help you work through your differences.

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About the author

About the author

Lexi Walters Wright is the former Community Manager at Understood. As a writer and editor, she helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Elizabeth Harstad, MD, MPH is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Boston Childrens Hospital.

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