Having uncomfortable conversations with your family is an important thing to practice. Whether it is financial concerns, healthcare plans or child custody issues, informing those you love ensures your wishes can be carried out in the event you are unable to.
Why are people afraid of awkward conversations?
There is an inherent human trait to shy away from vulnerability. That is exactly what uncomfortable conversations can make people feel - vulnerable. Being open and honest can make you feel as though you are opening yourself up for being hurt.
In reality, being vulnerable with your loved ones can foster a closer relationship. By entrusting people with your closest thoughts and feelings, you are showing you trust them to keep your interests at heart. It is also a good way of making sure you get what you want if you are struggling.
How to structure these conversations
It can be hard to initiate these conversations as the topics do not often come naturally into everyday chatter. Before you broach the subject, make a plan on the sort of things you want to include. Going in without a plan can lead to you forgetting things and then feeling unable to restart that conversation.
You can start by making it clear that you want to have a conversation with the other person because you trust and love them – assure them that nothing is wrong, though! This should instantly make them feel relaxed and open to helping you.
However the conversation goes, be sure to keep yourself calm and in control. It can be hard if you are talking about more difficult topics such as sexuality, parenting or bigotry, but you won’t gain much by getting angry and letting a situation escalate.
If you reach an amicable conclusion then that is fantastic. Although some topics only require one chat, some you can keep revisiting and building on. Sometimes a conclusion is not reached and that can be hard to deal with. You may want to take time away from the person you tried to talk with and that is completely fine.
What topics should you cover?
Financial issues are often a conversation topic that is put off for fear of awkwardness. Whether it is asking for help when money is a bit tight, getting support for personal injury claims, or discussing the contents of your will, money makes people feel uncomfortable.
Personal topics are often uncomfortable too. Sexuality, gender or any form of bigoted views can be hard to tackle. Coming out to your friends and family may leave you feeling anxious and unable to be yourself. The people who love you will support you no matter what, but there are some family members you may have to have uncomfortable conversations with.
End-of-life conversations can be hard too. You should discuss your end-of-life care wishes though, in case you need someone to act on your behalf. Similarly, you should chat about your funeral wishes. Friends and family may find it challenging if they don’t know how best to represent you once you have gone.