3 Types Of Awkward Conversations And How To Have Them
1. You want to tell you partner that you have an STD
Contracted an STD from an ex-partner? You’ll be doing the decent thing by telling your current partner about your condition before doing the deed. Sure, there’s a possibility that he may see you differently or even want out of the relationship, but at least you’d have done your part and can go on your way to meeting someone who is fully accepting.
Broaching the topic can be difficult, but are things you can do to make it all a little easier.
“If you feel that your new partner knows you well enough and you guys are ready to take things to the next level, you can say something like, ‘Before we have sex, we have to discuss protection because I have an STD.’ Speak calmly about it and give as much information about the STD as possible. You can also apologise for the complication and give him time and space to get around it,” says Jean Chen XM, a psychotherapist at Relationship Matters.
She points out that things will however be trickier if you contracted the STD as a result of cheating, and recommends finding a good time and place to break the news to your current partner.
“Your partner may not be able to function as per normal after hearing the news, so you shouldn’t talk to him about it if he has a deadline to meet or an event to go to. You should also do it at a place where your conversation cannot be overheard so your partner can have the space to have possible emotional outbursts.”
“It’s more complicated because it’s not just about the STD, but also the cheating with a third party.”
2. Things seem to be getting serious with a guy you met on a dating app, and you want to find out if he's still using it
It’s natural that you want to know if he’s still looking for, well, options, and you can broach the topic without coming across too aggressive or even desperate.
“Asking whether he is still using the dating app may make you seem controlling if you guys aren’t seeing each other exclusively. You can instead casually share your thoughts and see if he reciprocates and shares his with you,” says Jean.
“Say something like, ‘I’m considering closing the dating app and wish to stop searching for the moment. What do you think?’ If he mentions that he’d like to do the same, it probably means that he hopes to develop the relationship with you. If he doesn’t say much, it may be possible that he hopes to continue using it and needs more time to get to know you better.”
3. You disagree with your boss and want to voice your opinion
Don’t agree with your boss a lot? It’s not uncommon.
“Openly disagreeing with your boss is one of the hardest things to do in a professional setting,” says Kristina Lee, a business support consultant at Robert Walters Singapore. She points out that disagreements are typically over salary, work-life balance, promotions and micromanagement. Whatever the issue, you should learn how to manage a tough conversation with your superior.
“The discussion needs to be constructive, logical and non-condescending. Also, focus on the outcome to demonstrate your drive and desire to be successful in your role [without causing further problems],” she adds. Here are four steps to guide you.
1. Focus on positives
“If the conversation is about a salary increment, frame the conversation around your achievements.”
2. Ask away
Calmly explain why you disagree and ask questions, such as “Why did my colleague get a promotion when I am performing equally well?” and “What do I need to achieve to earn a promotion?” to clarify the issue.
3. Listen closely
Give yourself some time to think about what was said, and suggest solutions to overcome the problem. “Pausing during difficult conversations lets you gather your thoughts and acknowledge what your boss is telling you. It will also allow you to come up with a plan you can take to achieve your goals,” she says.
4. Talk about what’s next
“Think about the position you want, and how it aligns with the objectives of your organisation and manager. Ask your boss for feedback regularly so you know what you need to do to reach the next level,” says Kristina.