How to have a conversation about a difficult topic?

Meaningful conversations are successful when people have common interests. While some interests like fashion and hobbies may be airy and light, others like diseases and mental health, are not so. Conversations on social issues may be more substantive inviting passionate talk.

In situations where advice is being sought or guidance and information is being offered relative to a difficult topic, the conversations can be challenging. Talking about a difficult situation with people you don’t know can feel odd and strange. But, it may be more challenging to converse with family and friends, who may “judge”.

That is why support groups exist. There is no motive to judge. However, such in-person groups may not offer actionable advice, and online groups usually follow the forum format where expression is not detailed enough and the answers are just as general.

So, try and find platforms that offer a venue for private conversations where both sides are committed to meaningful dialog. Co-location should not be necessary, and neither should interaction with paid professionals.

Research shows that the person seeking guidance could try to be specific, open up, and be receptive to others’ thoughts. People offering solutions or relating their own experience could ask questions, listen, and come across as understanding and positive. 

However, there are no set rules. Do whatever you feel comfortable with and see how the conversation proceeds. Establishing trust is important. As it takes time to build, successful outcome of such dialog may take some time. So, plan to engage for a while.  

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