How to start a conversation—and why it matters
When a friend or loved one is facing adversity, it’s natural to want to cheer them up, distract them, or avoid the topic altogether. Those responses are well-intentioned, but they may be the opposite of what your friend actually needs. According to Sheila Heen, co-author of Difficult Conversations, starting a real dialogue about what your friend is going through may be the most helpful thing you can do.
Perhaps you’re hesitant because you don’t want to say the wrong thing or remind them of their problems. In fact, saying something—anything—lets them know that you’re thinking about them and you care. Tiptoeing around the elephant in the room won’t make it leave. Acknowledging that elephant is the first step toward kicking it out.