How to have those awkward conversations with your family

How to have those awkward conversations with your family

11/03/2020

We’ve all been there! We’ve all had to talk about some really uncomfortable things with our family members at some or the other point. From our relationships to our sex life, very often we skip the conversation altogether to avoid the discomfort.

However, sometimes hiding stuff can be more stressful than talking about it. So maybe, talking to someone from your family actually ends up being sweeter and more positive than you think. So, if there’s something you want to talk about with your family, here’s our guide for taking these conversations from awkward to ‘aww’-kward!

Accept your differences

Not all our family members share the same values and outlook towards life, which can be the one of the main reasons behind the awkwardness. For example, The Generation Gap with your parents may make you look at things in a completely different way compared to them. You may find premarital sex to be completely ok, but your parents may not. You might find abortion acceptable, while your parents may not.

Imagine that you find yourself in a situation where you have to bring one of these things up with your parents. In such cases, it won’t help to dismiss their views straight up as ‘wrong’ or outdated.  Acceptance of the difference of opinion is the first step to having a fruitful conversation. They have views that they think are justified from their own perspectives. So judging them for their views won’t help in most cases. Trying to make them see how they could change their outlook with empathy is a healthier starting point.

Try not to imagine the image of a perfect parent and feel bad about the fact that your parents don’t match up to it. Rather, accept who your parents are right now, as they are also trying to understand and do what’s best for you. Neither can be perfect, so try opening up to them and having the conversation if you feel you need someone to talk to.  

Whenever you can, Seek help

Sometimes, doing things alone can be difficult. So you can always seek support from some other family member while the conversation takes place. This should be someone who understands both viewpoints, is the best person, could be your aunt or your cousin and can help the conversation flow smoother. The presence of a third party can cool off the pressure on your head. If you don’t think there’s anybody who can help you with such conversations, don’t hesitate to visit a family counselor. These are trained professionals with years of experience in dealing with family conflicts.

Realizing the Power of Humor

A good sense of humor is helpful in handling most situations. Sometimes, private and sensitive are hard to discuss, but sometimes talking about it might become necessary. So, if the family member you wish to speak to is too stiff or uncomfortable, humor can be the best ice-breaker. Try and make them see the lighter side of things.

For example, if you feel uncomfortable discussing an unplanned pregnancy with your parents, you could talk about this discomfort in a funny way. You could say how you should get a Ph.D. in not being careful enough, but you really intend to improve in the future. Basically, you’re showing them how you’re human and have your own insecurities and vulnerabilities. It’s better to show up like this rather than being so defensive and strong about matters which could be of conflicting opinions. 

Of course, you get to decide the limits of the humor depending on who you are talking to and how close you are to them. But laughter indeed is the best medicine in most awkward conversations!

Practice

Not everyone can just ace beating this awkwardness. So don’t leave any stone unturned in practicing what you have to say from your end. If you have the time, you could read self-help books about body language or dig up YouTube tutorials about such stuff. You could even call in your friend to help you with this ‘rehearsal’. But remember that you’re practicing to play and not to ‘win’. The reason why you are having this conversation is not to win them over with just one conversation. You’re practicing mainly to put your best foot forward and to maintain your cool if things get heated up. You’re practicing to not go off the main issue and to avoid saying stuff that you might regret saying later.

Chances are high that things won’t change overnight with a single conversation. So, patience is sometimes the only way forward. Also, in the actual conversation you’ll have to listen as much as you talk. There is always some room for uncertainty. You may have to shift your perspective as much as you expect them to change theirs.So, having the bigger picture in mind will always help instead of getting caught up in minor arguments. 

 

And always remember the reason behind having a conversation which you knew might put you in an awkward or an uncomfortable state. If you could have avoided it, you would. So, if you decide to go and talk to someone, don’t give up mid way. It can be hard but it is also necessary, which is why you chose to talk in the first place. Mostly the purpose won’t be to ‘defeat’ the other person. What you’re getting into is not a battle, but a journey. So, try and leave your sword behind when you pack your bags. Are you ready for the ride?

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