More on Having a Difficult Conversation 2

I’m sitting in the SICU at Mercy Hospital (this was written and first posted back in 2012!), amazed at how my dad is responding from his 5-way heart bypass surgery yesterday! Thanks be to God for His faithfulness. Thanks for your prayers and love. He’ll be climbing the wall again next Adventure Day!

The surgeon did a great job.


But before he picked up a scalpel, he planned. He studied my dad. He examined the pictures of my dad’s heart. He thought it through before he began. He consulted with others. Such pre-thinking, forethought helped him succeed in a very touchy, delicate operation.

So you’ve been offended.

And rather than grabbing the offense, you want to release it.

And you need to have a difficult and loving discussion.

You need to be part of a touchy, delicate operation.

In our last blogpost, I talked about similarly planning, studying the other person, thinking before that hard discussion.

So now that you’ve planned, and prayed, here are a couple tools for the surgery:

1. A Navy Seal told me: Praise in public, correct in private. Of course if you’re into “correcting,” you’re planning to fail (see my previous blogpost). But the principle is still good here. If the conversation is in front of other people, they will have face to lose, which will make them extra defensive. And always speak face to face, one on one. No texts, no e-mails, no phone calls, no FaceBook, no tweets.

2. Keep it brief. Set a time limit and stick to it. 30 minutes? 45 minutes? Difficult stuff seems to get more difficult when you go much more than an hour. Schedule to get back together if you need more time.

3. Ask if this is a good time to talk for 30 minutes or so. You need to respect them and their world. And you don’t want to be hurried or distracted.

4. Take deep breaths. Speak calmly (not coldly or detached).

5. If things begin to get heated, if may be good to pause the conversation. That’s ok, you can come back. But it’ll be harder if you say things now that you’ll regret. (This usually happens in “overtime.”) Be honest, “I’m sorry, but I’m a bit confused right now. I think it would be better for me to take a break and get back with you later.”

(Click here to listen to or download our series Taking Offense. Or Not.)

There's more to come.

What do you think? Does this help? What have you experienced?


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