Why it is important to have uncomfortable conversations with your family

words Alexa Wang

conversations with your family

For some, the thought of talking to their family about something serious like money, death or serious illness can make them feel anxious and nauseous. However, it is important to have these conversations in case something happens.

For example, if you become seriously unwell, your family will know what you would want in terms of medical care and end-of-life care. Making sure your wishes are upheld is paramount to both you and your family.

Why are people afraid of having uncomfortable conversations?

It is common for humans to avoid feeling vulnerable. Whether it is putting yourself in an unfamiliar situation or entering into an argument, many people will do anything to avoid it. Whilst feeling vulnerable isn’t necessarily bad, many feel that the risk of making yourself vulnerable can be perceived as a weakness and invite rejection.

When it comes to the ones you love, you will try and protect them at all costs and be the one that they can rely on. This usually means avoiding awkwardness and unpleasantries. However, uncomfortable conversations can help you to clarify your thoughts and gain a deeper connection with your nearest and dearest.

How to structure these conversations?

If having tough conversations makes you nervous, there are some ways you can prepare for them. First, identify the main topic you want to talk about. Although there may be multiple topics you want to cover, stick to one per conversation. This helps to keep the conversation focused and prevents it from going off on a tangent or becoming an argument.

Preparing a bullet point list of the things you want to mention can also help to keep things on track. Having your list to refer to can also help to calm your nerves a little too. It may also be helpful to include a potential solution or way to move forward in your list as this keeps things proactive and doesn’t shoulder the burden onto the other participant in the conversation.

What sort of things should these conversations be about?

Uncomfortable conversation topics can be varied. Initially, people think about confronting someone that has done them wrong, which can be the case. There are also larger conversation topics such as death, medical needs, sexuality or finances.

One example would be if you suffered a traumatic brain injury and have ongoing brain injury claims, then you might want to inform your family about what you would like the money to go towards if you are unable to make that decision.

Similarly, talking about what you would like at a funeral can be an uncomfortable chat. Many people feel conflicted when planning a funeral for a loved one as they may second-guess what that person would have wanted. Being clear means your wishes will be respected and your family can take comfort in that.

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