Top 10 tips for coping with difficult conversations

Any divorce or separation is a challenging time involving painful conversations. To help you deal with these difficult discussions, we’ve put together our top ten tips for coping with difficult exchanges.

1. Prepare

Prepare for the conversation in advance, being clear about what you hope to achieve and resolve. Setting objectives beforehand can help to take the emotion out of the situation and avoid getting distracted by other issues.

2. Role play

You could try role playing the conversation beforehand with a trusted friend. They may raise issues which could help to give you an insight into how the dialogue might play out. Alternatively, play the conversation out in your head like you’re watching a film – picture yourself handling the situation well and getting a satisfactory outcome.


3. Keep your cool

Try to remain as dignified and respectful as possible. Always try to respond in a considered manner as opposed to reacting emotionally to the discussion.


4. Find common ground

Do not match anger with anger and try to focus on common ground to find something you can agree on.


5. Do not talk over the other person

Always let the other person have their say and do not talk over them.


6. Listen with care

Listen with care to work out what the other person is trying to gain or avoid. Repeat what you understand their issue is back to them to ensure you understand it properly.


7. Set boundaries

Set boundaries and limits as to how you speak to each other – you can both express yourselves in a calm and respectful way even if you disagree.


8. Take time to consider difficult questions

If you are struggling to respond to an uncomfortable question, remember you have the right to take your time to think about it and even end the conversation if necessary.


9. End with clarification

End the conversation by clarifying what has been decided and any action needing to be taken by either side.


10. Plan a release of tension

Release the tension afterwards by planning to debrief a friend, go for a brisk walk or scheduling a way to let off steam that works for you.


If you would like any advice on separation or divorce, we offer an initial no obligation consultation for £50 (incl. VAT) for up to one hour, where you can chat to a family lawyer about the impact it may have on your specific circumstances. To book, please call us on 01444 472700, email us on or complete the form below.


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