Difficult Discussions Are Easier With a List

I had lunch with a friend recently and she was telling me about her boyfriend troubles. They’d come to a point in the relationship where it made sense to start talking about the future and if each other was in it.

I told her to make a list of all the things that were important to her and about what she wanted to discuss. I also said to take the time to really think things through before she even broached the subject with her boyfriend. She said she would, I wished her luck and she was on her way.

Fast forward one week — we spoke again after they had “the talk.” My friend was elated — her difficult “where is this relationship going” talk went well — and a list was the hero. She said the process of making a list really helped her to see what was important. She decided what she could live with and what she could live without.

She had a road map for her discussion and was ready to tackle a difficult situation. When she sat down with her boyfriend she referred to the list and started with the easy topics first and then eased into the harder ones.

As they chatted they stuck only to what was on the list — so that’s all they needed to focus on. There weren’t any arguments or yelling — they just systematically went through the list and covered all the important points.

My friend told me that the task of writing a list of what she wanted to do in her life — made it concrete and turned her dreams into goals. In the end there was no fighting — just a happy ending.

This won’t always be the outcome of course — but having a list will help you to gather your thoughts and remember what’s important. Other issues and arguments can sneak into your discussion, but if you use a list and stick to it — you will accomplish your goal easier. Next time you have a touchy subject to cover — make a list and stay on track.

2 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Having a list of topics to discuss and sticking to it is important when you are talking with someone that you have difficulties with. By sticking to the list you can eliminate bringing up past ‘dirty laundry’, keep it based on facts instead of emotion, make sure the topics that are important to YOU are brought up, and hopefully you will have a calmer, rational discussion over tense topics instead of letting emotions reign.
    As you say, the outcome isn’t always rosy, but it does make sure that topics likely to provoke problems are dealt with a bit easier.


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  1. […] I’m writing on then I’m more likely to sit down and make a pro and con list even if it’s a really difficult decision. I’ve done several on this fun pre-made pro and con list from KnockKnockStuff.com. But you can […]

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