Sometimes you know a particular conversation will be difficult. Maybe you’re worried about breaking up with your significant other or confronting a friend about a betrayal. Maybe you’re nervous about asking for something or presenting a new idea to a parent or teacher. Whatever the situation, preparing ahead of time can make the final conversation easier.
Thinking through what you’d like to say and what your purpose is can make it easier for you when you’re actually having the conversation.
These steps can make you less nervous or worried beforehand, making it more likely that the conversation will go well:
- Practice presenting a new idea to someone else first. Get their honest feedback on what you said and how you said it.
- For a private topic, try writing out your feelings and thoughts first to organize what you want to say and clarify how you feel.
- If you don’t feel comfortable with a specific subject, talk to a friend about your nervousness to become more familiar with the topic.
Depending on the type of conversation you want to have, you might find it helpful to tell the person you’re talking to that you’re nervous or concerned. For instance, if you want to talk to a friend about an eating disorder, you could start with, “I don’t really know how to bring this up, and I know it might be uncomfortable to talk about, but I’m really concerned that you haven’t eaten lunch in the past two weeks.”
This tells the other person how you’re feeling but also demonstrates that you think the conversation is important enough to move beyond your discomfort and worry.
Note that this sort of disclaimer might not be appropriate when you’re trying to impress someone, such as in a job interview, where it’s best to appear poised and composed even if you feel nervous.
Put Off Worries
If the expected conversation is weighing on your mind a lot, try distracting yourself for a little while. Take a few deep breaths and clear your mind to help quell physical symptoms of nervousness. Jogging or doing anything physical can also help you to shed nervous fidgeting and give your mind a break from worry.
When you communicate with another person, what you say isn’t necessarily the most important part of your message. Your body language and tone can say so much more than words. Through successful communication, you develop a sense of trust, the second building block of The ABCs.
Last reviewed: March 2019