For a lot of us, communicating our feelings is never easy. We might not want to rock the boat or upset someone we care about, and, often as women, we’re taught to soften and obfuscate and put things really, really indirectly. It’s a social convention that you can really internalize: Instead of asking for what you want, you hint at it; instead of saying something outright, you go around in circles. After a lot of trial and error, I realized that while this approach can be diplomatic, there are times in our lives when we just need to flat-out be direct and say something. Like in these circumstances.
When you want to tell your parents about a big life development
I graduated high school and told my mom that I would not be attending college for a year, if ever. It was scary, and at first, I tried to figure out a way around just straight-up saying, I’m not ready for college. But then I stepped back and realized that my parents care about me and want me to be happy, even if they disagree with my decision. I explained to her that I needed a breather and that furthering my education was no longer mandatory, but an option. I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed. She hated the idea, but let me take a semester off. As long as I worked and wasn’t using this as extended vacation time, it was fine. It was terrifying to say that I wanted to divert from the path my mom wanted for me, but I’m glad that I did, that I stood firm and came to the decision to go to school on my own.
When you want to tell your friends you’re feeling left out
I love my friends. They’re spread across this country and some are in the UK. Some are teachers, a few want to be lawyers, a couple listen to hypochondriac tendencies and one can whip me up delicious food (even though we usually just get super lazy and order something instead). They all bring something different into my life and they’re there for me when I need them. But sometimes things bug me, like in normal friendships. And one of those things for me is feeling left out.
For a while, I would ignore it or reason it away, or tamp it down only to have it erupt later on. But then i got used to just talking to a friend. It’s easier to ask why you were left out of the “What are we doing tonight?” text or didn’t get invited to a party than to nurse a grudge about it.
When your significant other says or does something that upsets you
We’ve all been there. We’ve had a bad day, saw something that rubbed us the wrong way, we’re on our period. We’ve all been in fights with our significant other where they may have said something that really got to you. They might have even just said it as an off hand joke but you still didn’t like anyway.
I used to be awful at this. I wouldn’t say anything if something upset me simply because I didn’t want to rock the boat. But I’ve learned that the best way for both you and your partner to have a healthy relationship is to tell each other when the other says something that upsets you. If you don’t, it could keep happening and you’ll slowly begin to resent him or her and then break up. If there’s no communication, there’s no real relationship.
When you want to ask your boss for a raise
This is definitely the type of situation where you need to really think about it. Pick a time or a day when your boss isn’t busy. Make sure they aren’t swamped with work or stressed out by a deadline or upcoming event. A slow workday is always best. Even if you have a good rapport with your boss, this is not the time to be unprofessional. Ask if he or she has some time to spare and explain your situation. If your job depends on whether or not you get a raise, explain that but don’t go into specific detail. Just be direct. Getting a raise is hard when you’re beating around the bush.
Being honest with yourself
This is the easiest one to overlook. Most of the time, most of us are beating ourselves up over one thing or another, comparing ourselves or just shoving things to the side. We need to be able to be honest with ourselves and know that the hardest conversations are the ones we need to be having. If we don’t have that kind of communication with ourselves, we won’t have that kind of communication with anyone else. We need to be honest and open otherwise we’ll never get anywhere.
[image via YouTube]