Social support and having people to turn to and rely on is a healthy aspect of well-being. How we relate to other people in our relationships can add to or diminish our social wellness. Unhealthy relationships can cause heartache, anxiety, stress, frustration and disappointment.
Strong, nurturing, supportive relationships that foster genuine connection need to be continually nurtured with care and communication. One aspect of nurturing a healthy relationship is being able to have tough conversations. Sometimes our view is different from the other person and instead of making our case or tell them why they are wrong, the key to a difficult conversation is to listen and validate.
Listening to someone speak and validating them doesn’t mean we agree with them. Validating includes:
- Showing them that we were really listening to them.
- Reflecting back to them what we think they said.
- Looking for anything that we may agree with or acknowledge anything that helped us learn or think about the issue differently.
- Then introduce how our views may be different.
When a person feels their points are clearly heard they will feel less threatened by the conversation.
“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right things at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong things and the tempting moment.” Dorothy Nevil