How to Have Difficult Conversations

How to Have Difficult Conversations

By Tricia Lewis,
Executive Director of Roseville’s Sierra Pregnancy + Health

We are almost never prepared to have a difficult conversation. The birds and the bees, finances, death and even, sometimes, life. How do you approach the subject of an unexpected pregnancy respectfully and compassionately? For those of us who wade in complex topics, you will often hear the goal is to find common ground, which is especially trying with emotionally charged subject matter. We would like to share how we’ve made tough conversations productive and meaningful.

1. Our intent must come from a place of genuine care. We deliver perspective with the goal of helping, never just to demonstrate your opinion. The quickest way to get tuned out is by using the conversation to help yourself instead of trying to impart wisdom and compassion.

2. Be discerning in your word choice. Politically, certain terms can carry connotations that some people may not relate with or connect to. We have found this with the term “pro-life.” We often use “life affirming,” which helps convey our perspective more clearly. Often, we may not be on separate sides of a debate, but on the same team; you may both believe in advocating for opportunities to see past a hardship into a realm of possibilities.

3. Allow the other person to have the floor. Being an active, nonjudgmental listener gives them the chance to be heard, demonstrating that our goal is for the conversation to be functional and fair. This encourages respectful interaction and a better understanding, which is the goal in any relationship you care about.

Sierra Pregnancy + Health is a licensed medical clinic that offers all services at zero cost. This includes pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and educational classes. Our mission is to provide physical, emotional and spiritual health care for women and families before, during, and after pregnancy. No matter the client’s position, we are a soft place to land, helping open the channels of communication and have these tough conversations with grace, compassion, and a wealth of resources.

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