But They Won’t Talk To Me

When I’m in conflict with a friend, I can be a stuffer. I don’t want the drama of dealing with issues. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I don’t know how to address this issue.

I feel like I should just let it go.

And sometimes I really should just let things go.

Other times the best thing to do for the relationship is to have an honest conversation. Push through the uncomfortable awkwardness and talk. Relationships are valuable and worth the work.

Yes, I know this. I wrote a book about it. But it’s still not easy when I’m being a stuffer to have those needed conversations.

If you’re a stuffer, I bet you can relate.

But today I want to talk to those who are in a relationship with a stuffer and are trying to figure out how to get them to talk.

The thing us stuffers need most when trying to have a difficult conversation is safety. I need to be assured you are trying to attack the problem and not me. I need to hear you say you love me even if you feel that’s an understood given in our relationship. And I need to know you don’t blame me but are willing to own your part in this situation.

Here are some practical ways to do this when talking with a stuffer:

“I love you and care enough about our relationship to want to talk about this conflict. As I’ve thought about it, I know I could have done this and that better. Please forgive me for this. Now, help me understand things from your perspective…”

The goal is to get the stuffer to talk, so when they do-listen. Listen all the way through their statements without interrupting. It’s going to be hard not to interrupt to clarify something-or justify something but resist jumping in. Just listen.

And then when they pause, look for ways to get further clarification with more questions such as, “Where are we not seeing eye-to-eye on this?” or, “Can we find a good compromise?”

Last week on the Unglued webcast my Pastor said this quote, “A question convicts the conscience, an accusation hardens the soul.”

Wow … so true. So powerful. Such a good thing to remember when trying to get a stuffer to talk.

Let’s talk about this today. What are your thoughts? Are you a stuffer? If so, give us some more advice on what needs to happen so you’ll feel safe enough to bring your honest thoughts into conversations.


  1. Debbie says

    God’s timing is always perfect. I just now read this blog post (catching up on emails!:), and many of the comments. It is exactly what I needed to hear. I’m having an issue with a God given friend of over 20 years. I honestly have no idea what the problem is…other than the silence is deafening, and a twisted knot in my gut telling me something is wrong. I had a text ready to send her, but got so nervous and anxious that I decided not to send it. Wasn’t sure if it’s because of my own stuffer tendancies because I hate conflict, and not ready for what her reply may be (if I even get one!), or if it was the Holy Spirit stopping me because the timing may not be right. But I feel this advice Lysa, hit the nail on the head. Whatever the problem may be, there definately seems to be one and it needs to be addressed…lovingly and carefully. This God given friendship has been too much of a blessing over the years (and still is to me) to just let it fall away. I think I will write a short letter and pray for God’s words and wisdom…using your suggestions.
    Thank you…and prayers appreciated!

  2. Jo Ann says

    I guess I am a stuffer – especially when it comes to my friend Donna. We have known each other for around 15 years, and she knew me before I was a Christian. She is in New Age as I was, and she is a severe Christian basher and she hates that I am now a Christian. So now I can not share what I am excited about – how God is using me and growing me, and can not share my faith with her because she gets so mad, so we just do not go there. But I have stayed friends with her now for 13 years feeling this way, and the reason I have stayed friends with her is because I do not want her to say that I am just another one of this hypoctirical Christians who only want to hang out with other Christians. I have really wanted to end the friendship lately, but she keeps reaching out to me and am not sure what to do. I want to be honest with her and tell her that we really do not have much in common any more since I can not share what is the most important thing in my life, which is my church and my relationship with Christ, and all we have left to talk about is her family or recent aches and pains! I just do not know what to do!
    Jo Ann

    • Abera says

      Dear Jo Ann,
      Friendships are things were one ought to feel safe and comforted and never like you need to walk around egg-shells. I think many people can see themselves in your situation. What I have come to realise is that sometimes all you can do for someone is to pray for them, and more importantly the change needs to come from you- but as the change is happening in the relationship- you don’t need to stick it out to the bitter end.

      The Bible tells us clearly to beware of the people we make friends with for this reason, if your friend Donna not being a positive influence, perhaps the best solution is to take a step back- assess the situation and review the friendship.

      An honest discussions of your feelings might be the best way to go forward- you know in your conscience why you do/dont want to be friends with someone. Do not try and outwit yourself by doing what someone else wants from you. Walking in love and truth, sometimes means having to say something that might hurt someone- but in the end is for their overall good. Remember God doesn’t need us to defend Him or His gospel- therefore behave the best way you can and decide what you want on the future of this relationship and if your friend cannot accept this, then move on- God will bring many more people to you who will show you true friendsip.

      In Christ.