Saying the Hard Things

Today, it has become necessary for me to say some things to a beloved friend that I believe will be difficult for her to hear.  Communicating simply, honestly, and peacefully was never one of my stronger points, but I have been facing the discomfort of changing to become more communicative, and I welcome the opportunity to grow in this way.  So today’s post is really counsel to myself and to anyone out there who finds it difficult to say the hard things; and, I’d be grateful for feedback and suggestions in the comments.


  • Say it simply
  • Say it honestly
  • Say it peacefully
  • Say it with love
  • Say it with the intention to restore balance
  • Say it with the intention not to manipulate, control or change the other person’s behavior
  • Say it with the intention, rather, of setting or restoring healthy boundaries
  • Say it without expectation
  • Say it with absolute freedom
  • Say it with respect for the other person’s absolute freedom
  • Say it without blame of self or other
  • Say it with compassion for self and other
  • Say it with Mindfulness
  • Listen Deeply, knowing that every word spoken and really heard presents an opportunity for growth


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22 responses to “Saying the Hard Things

  1. This is always a difficult task, but I think your guidelines are very well thought out.

  2. yazrooney

    Tell her that this is how you are interpreting the situation, and that you’d like to hear how she perceives it. It won’t get nasty and hurtful that way. When you listen, become this lady for a moment. Try to see the world from her perspective. Really work hard at that. This is where the love and compassion comes from. You’ll both learn something. Despite how we feel, these confrontations are a learning curve for both parties. Good luck.

    • I couldn’t agree more; also acknowledging the part that I have played in matters is important. Thanks for such wonderful counsel–I appreciate it very much. The conversation went really well, by the way–we both are willing to learn from each other and grow from the discomfort. Thanks for your kind words.

  3. I think your guidelines are wonderful..I hope the conversations go well. I think yazrooney’s ideas for shifting perspectives is really helpful too.
    We’ve had the “wise speech” steps/criteria on our kitchen cupboard door for several years…. and both have a commitment to communicate, as much as we each can, to talk within those intentions…but it still can be challenging at times. There’s a forest background…and a sky background…forest is more nurturing for me, sky has more clearness and clarity
    As far as perspective taking…the idea of “just like myself, this person wishes for……. ” helps too…
    wishing you well….

    • Thank you, dear friend. The conversation went spectacularly well, and we both felt better for it. You are totally right–the idea of “just like myself, this person wishes for a healthy friendship” really helped to disarm low-lying expectations that the conversation wouldn’t go well. Once I was able to do that, I felt an energetic shift and a real opening in the friendship for expansion. Thank you so much–I’ll take a look at the links!

  4. I would also suggest that you allow the communication to be less than perfect. Sometimes, we need to practice speaking our truth in compassion, and we don’t say things perfectly, or get the response we would have preferred.
    Your post was perfect for me to read today. I just went through an uncomfortable conversation wtih a service provider that I didn’t see coming. Someone said things to me which brought me to tears. During the conversation, I was left practically speechless. I could not stop crying last night, probably because the conversation touched a deep personal wounding from when I was a child.
    My own response was not my preferred response, but it was my true response to unexpected and somewhat unfair treatment by someone else. Fortunately, I have been working on buiilding up my own awareness so that I could see that there was something for me to learn about myself from an unpleasant interaction. I am trying to see the conversation as a gift for showing me how to strengthen my boundaries and see situations as they truly are.
    I have the feeling you expect that your friend might not have the response you would like. Those kind of conversations are difficult, but often the only we way grow into greater freedom and kindness to ourselves and our beloved friends. Perhaps it also will be easier than you might expect too, because you are going into the conversation with such good intentions. A beloved friendship is only strengthened when you speak your truth with love.

    • Gosh, Karen–that is such wisdom–allow the communication to be less than perfect–let it just be. What a difficult situation that must have been for you, but it sounds like you handled it with grace, maturity, and self-reflective compassion. Our greatest lessons sometimes come in uncomfortable packages, but within them are keys to increasing our capacity for love and self-power. Sounds like you and I both received such a package this week. And, you are ever so right–a beloved friendship is only strengthened when one speaks truth with love. I went in with that intention, and the conversation really brought out the best in us both.

  5. Thinking of you dear friend. This is something I really struggle to do too. And something I need to work on. I hope that it goes peacefully for you, and is well received. Much love ♥

  6. I do love what you have offered here…. a guide i will personally refer back to Angela. From the time I’ve gotten to know you here, I think you are one who communicates with integrity, intention and spirt most often. Simply your awareness of this issue is to be commended and is a role model for us all… Much Love ~ RL

  7. Its not always easy to say what needs to be said…I really think your guidelines are excellent.

  8. Thank you for listing some beautiful and sincere tips to communicate – perfect. Yes communicate look into the eyes of the person and have a kind smile.

    Thank you for this lovely reminder!

  9. such a good topic…and yes, so hard to communicate clearly…I find that putting things in the “I” always helps instead of using the “you” which always points a finger…good timing for me as I had to say some hard things yesterday to a loved one…thanks!

  10. Renard Moreau

    [ Smiles ] Oh, I LOVE your guidelines and your post too!

    That’s a great article!

  11. Victoria Pitts-Taylor

    i really love these guidelines. thank you.

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