Roughly 80% of the questions we receive at The Lesbian Guide can be solved with one simple answer. It’s easy to say, but pretty difficult to implement.
Talk to each other.
Communication is KEY to any relationship. Subconsciously everyone already knows that good communication is the solution, but it’s the follow through we have trouble with.
– How do you start the conversation?
– How do you get your point across?
– How do you stay on topic?
– That’s what I’m planning to tackle right now.
So, Where do we start?
There are a few things that need to be clear in your own head before you move forward.
– What is it you need to talk about?
– Why is it something that you need to talk about? (i.e. is it affecting you, your relationship, your health…?)
– What happened that’s made it something you need to discuss? (examples of situations that could have prompted it.)
– What are you trying to accomplish throughout/from the conversation? (are you looking for change, acknowledgement, an apology, etc.?)
By answering these questions in your head first, it will be a lot easier to stay on topic and get your point across. You’re looking for a common understanding and a ‘solution’, not further confusion and frustration. So let’s get there by having the conversation…
Approaching the discussion
One of the most difficult parts is actually getting the talk started. You want to engage the other person without intimidating them or causing a fight. Saying something like ‘we need to talk’ often puts people on edge. They’ll either get anxious or resistant. Your tone is important so keep it in mind when you’re getting into the conversation. You want to keep it light and casual, like any other conversation, rather than stern or aggressive. So even altering the opener to ‘Hey, can I talk to you about something?’ or ‘I’ve had something on my mind. Can I tell you about it?’ will put your better half at ease. There is never going to be an ideal time to start ‘the talk’, but having it in a place where you are both comfortable – some place semi-private – is usually a good idea.
You’ve got some explaining to do (Your time to shine)
Help the person you’re talking to understand why this thing is affecting you so much, and why you need to discuss it. Use words that are less accusatory – I’m talkin’ about a lot less “when you did this…” and a lot more “when this happened I felt… because…”. It’s not about placing blame, it’s about getting them to understand. Part of that can be done by utilizing example situations. Talk about the things that have actually happened that prompted the whole conversation so the other person has a basis to work from. It will help prevent future issues.
Staying on course
No conversation is one-sided. Controlling the discussion is about keeping it relevant, not shoving your side of things down the other person’s throat. When you find them steering the talk in a different direction get everyone back on topic. Tell them that you are open to talking about that other subject as well but you need to finish this conversation first.
Understanding (Wash it all away)
Coming to an understanding involves both sides being heard. It’s important to know:
– If the other person understands what you’re saying
– If they have any questions
– How they’re feeling
– What they want to see and do moving forward
If those points have all been covered, and you seem to be on the same page, then chalk it up to a successful ‘talk! Well done.
As we all know, the toughest part is staying calm throughout the conversation. Emotions run high when you’re talking about things that are affecting you on a personal level. It’s easy to let those feelings get the best of you. That’s why the first step is so essential – it gives you a chance to gain that level head you’ll need to look at things objectively. And here’s hoping the other person – whether it’s your partner, friend, co-worker, family member, etc. – is willing to communicate openly so that you’re able to find the best solution that works for everyone involved.