Conversation stoppersDec 03, 2021
I recently presented a free webinar called Navigating Thanksgiving After Loss: A Strategic Approach. (Much of it applies to other holidays, too, so if you’d still like to watch it, click here.)
One topic I covered was conversation stoppers. We hear a lot about how to start conversations, but I think that those of us living in life after loss need to know how to end conversations, too. Conversation stoppers come in handy when someone is:
- offering you unhelpful platitudes.
- attempting to coax you into what they think should be the next phase of your healing.
- suggesting that you need to "move on," or "let him go," or “get over it.”
- offering an unsolicited opinion of any type.
- attempting to convince you to spend the holidays somewhere you’d rather not.
Conversation stoppers can be delivered with kindness. They don’t have to sound confrontational or rude at all. They can come from a place of love and acceptance. Here are some ideas for conversation stoppers. Maybe you can think of others.
- This is what I’ve decided is best for me this year.
- I appreciate your input. I’ll give it some thought.
- Thanks, but I’ve made my decision.
- I’ve decided not to make any firm plans.
- And my all-time favorite: I don’t expect you to understand what this is like for me….. (optional add on: “In fact, I’m so glad you don’t.”)
Remember, they’re conversation stoppers. That means discussion over. Period. The end. You have officially removed yourself from talking about that particular subject. Let the silence follow. It’s okay. It isn’t your job to please anyone. You simply cannot be all things to all people. Especially now.
If these conversation stoppers appeal to you, write them down, practice them regularly and use them as often as needed. Practice them out loud. How would you say them with great love and gentleness?
On a related note, there is no need to show up to every conversation you’re invited to. Here are some phrases that have worked for me:
- That’s not something I am willing to discuss.
- Why do you ask? (Potentially followed by the previous sentence)
- I don’t feel comfortable talking about that.
- That isn’t something I feel ready to discuss.
Perhaps you can think of others. These are worth practicing, too, and like the conversation stoppers, they can be delivered with love and kindness.
As we navigate a life that feels like it has spun out of control, we can focus on the areas we can control, including what conversations we participate in, and how to end conversations that don’t serve us. It is a small step toward ending people pleasing. It’s a large step in conserving what little energy you may have for the day. It can be warm and kind-hearted. It’s so worth giving it a try.
If you’re struggling with other people’s expectations of you, I get it. I did, too. It took me a long time to figure out how to live on my terms, but it doesn’t have to take a long time for you. My coaching program called Life Reconstructed is what I needed most after I lost my husband. If you’re ready to invest in yourself, simply apply here and we’ll see if it’s a fit.
Learn more about Life Reconstructed.
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