Tips for Hard Conversations
When thinking of whether or not something is appropriate to say, I find that the first three questions can be a useful guide: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
Not all difficult feedback or conversations will meet all three criteria, sometimes it is very necessary but not very kind. That’s okay, but they are a useful rule of thumb for consideration.
Then I had a client share with me another set of questions to reflect on when you are considering a particularly difficult, possibly controversial or triggering conversation. Those questions are: Does this need to be said? Does it need to be said by me? Does it need to be said right now?
I think these are particularly useful to consider if you are in an oppressed class of people, such as trans people. These questions can be helpful in navigating how to manage the amount of time, energy, emotional labor, and feeling that can go into a conversation in which you are advocating or attempting to educate others on issues that directly affect you.
This can be a tricky line to navigate, as there will always be more of this work to do than a single person can manage. Being able to balance a need to educate/advocate with your own personal needs for rest, recovery, and not being drained. That is why the last question is so important, do you have the capacity right now for this type of conversation? Be honest with yourself.