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The art of effective communication is to understand that very often the words you hear aren’t what’s really being said or meant!

It’s the kind of person who appears perfectly nice, friendly and even seems to go out of their way to help you, but then stabs you in the back at the first opportunity, WTH?

It’s the same old argument, on repeat, with your other half that never changes and always ends up unresolved.

It’s that old familiar feeling of being treated like a small child yet again when your mother/father expresses concern or an opinion about something you’ve done or a decision you’ve made which you were perfectly ok with until they opened their mouth.

If you frequently find yourself in a situation that feels familiar – the same old argument, the same feelings of resentment, the same feelings of humiliation and shame – it can help to take a step back and figure out what’s really being said. 

[And if you’re not sure, ask! “It sounds like you’re saying you think I’ve made a really stupid decision, is that what you mean? Or what do you mean?”]

We each get into default patterns of (not) addressing situations in our life as they happen and instead, we keep quiet and then quietly seethe away in the background!

There’s an easier way and it involves, direct, head-on communication; this doesn’t have to be confrontational, angry or unpleasant; in fact, it can be liberating, connecting and said with love and positive intentions. 

Though if the latter is still a step too far, let’s just start with DIRECT, shall we?! Here are a few examples – let’s call them scripts – of how to be more direct in your communication when it comes to key flashpoints in your life, that’d usually be the start of an argument or period of sulky silence and simmering resentment!

Difficult Colleague? Try this…

Want to address the uncomfortable friction between you and a difficult colleague, in a way that doesn’t start (and end!) with: “You’re so bloody difficult to work with, why can’t you just get over yourself and see I’m only trying to help?” – in which you frequently end up being seen as the bad guy/gal?

“Things feel really difficult between us. I’d love to find a way to work things out so we’re both happier, how could we do that?”

Difficult Child? Try this…

Want to understand what’s really going on for your child/teenager, underneath the angry, aggressive attitude you’re faced with over something that appeared fairly innocuous?

“It sounds like you’re really angry about something. Do you know what it is you’re angry about?”

Difficult Parent? Try this…

“I really appreciate your support; I’d love to be able to do this for myself going forwards, how could you help me do that?”

Want to step out from the shadows and symbiosis of a parent who insists on doing things for you even though you’re now an adult, but don’t want them to be offended at your desire for independence: Instead of “Just leave me alone and let me do it on my own for once ffs”

Difficult Co-Parent? Try this…

Struggling with a father who won’t pull his weight around the house/with parenting duties and/or perpetuates a misogynist approach to parenting and running a household together? 

“Is that the kind of model you want to provide for your own kids? For them to have a role model of a man who refuses to parent equally or contribute more than financially to the successful and happy running of a household? Would you want your daughters to choose a man who expects that from them, and nothing more?”