Date: May 8, 2021
Is it possible to be more honest without it leading to conflict?
Yes, if you listen to your HEART!
H – Hone in on the key points. Being honest does not require you to tell every detail or express all of your feelings. Rather, think about the truth that you want to share and highlight the key points. Write a high level overview of what you want to say and provide necessary context. See if there are common themes that you can combine into broad categories and then, use an “I feel” statement. For example, “I feel like we should work on our communication because we have had some misunderstandings lately and it is important to me that we are on the same page,” or “I took your shoes the other day and I feel bad about it. I wanted to look good and love your style.” Or, to take present a more serious example, “I do not feel comfortable meeting up with you in-person until you are vaccinated because I am worried about coronavirus variants.”
E – Encourage a conversation and collaboration. An honest conversation should be a dialogue not a monologue. Do not prepare a monologue in which you state everything that you want to say with the hopes of the outcome of the conversation being quiet acquiescence to your point of view. That is typically not the case. Many honest chats catch people off guard. The person presenting the situation has had a chance to think and prepare what they want to say. The listener may be reacting or responding on the spot. Where I see many people go wrong in an honest conversation is when they want to present a problem and have no suggestion for the solution or they present a solution that is very one-sided. In order to reach an outcome that is likely to result in changed behavior, the people involved should collaborate and come up with a joint solution.
A – Accept what you can and cannot control. The flow and outcome of the conversation may or may not go as planned. That is OK. Do not keep belaboring a point if it is clearly not going over well. Make your point and move on. Not all attempts to be honest have to have a happy ending.
R – Respect the other person’s point of view regarding the truth. While it may feel good for you to tell the truth and get something that is bothering you off of your chest, realize that the other person may be hurt by the truth. A healthy amount of empathy and compassion along with the truth may be necessary. It is also important to extend grace to people because you may not be aware of what they are dealing with or what is going on in the background of their lives.
T- Timing is everything. Only you can determine if now is the right time to be honest about whatever is on your mind. You have to make some preliminary determinations before having the conversation. Is now the right time? Are you the right person to have this conversation? Should this happen over phone, social media, text, video chat or in-person? Trust your instincts with this. Think about whether the timing and circumstances would be right if you were the one being told the truth.
At the end of the day, you have to think about what feels right to you to be authentically you and live your truth… and that takes HEART!