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.