How to Communicate Your Hurt Feelings Effectively

While you might want to write a letter, it's usually best to address hurt feelings in person.While you might want to write a letter, it's usually best to address hurt feelings in person.

Communicating hurt feelings can be a significant challenge in personal relationships. While it may not be appropriate to convey your emotional needs at work, it's often an important skill to learn in marriages or friendships. Before you can communicate your hurt feelings, it's important to become clear with yourself about exactly what you're upset about. Take some time to yourself and identify what caused the hurt feelings and why it's imperative to discuss the situation with the other individual. You may decide there is more than one issue that needs to be addressed.

Step 1

Approach the conversation with a win-win mentality. To communicate your hurt feelings in a way that the other person will truly hear, you need to remember that each of you will want to end the conversation feeling positive and understood by one another. Go into the conversation with the idea that it's not an attack but a chance to get on the same page as the other person.

Step 2

State your feelings without blaming. Use statements that start with "I feel" instead of statements that start with, "You do this" or "You need to change this." Convey that your feelings are coming from you but perhaps were triggered by something this person did. Don't make it the other person's fault. Remember, something that person does to you might not hurt another person's feelings. Own and honor your feelings without pointing the finger at someone else.

Step 3

Give the other person a fair chance to respond. Ask the other person what he thinks of the things you have communicated. Listen to his response and know that he may disagree with you. Ask for clarification if you don't understand his point of view.

Step 4

Discuss what behaviors might need to change to avoid hurt feelings in the future. If the other person has accepted that you have hurt feelings and apologized for the cause, the next step is to ensure they don't happen again. Be specific when discussing exactly what needs to change or be avoided to eliminate the possibility of hurting your feelings again.

Step 5

Confirm that you understand one another and there are no more issues that need to be discussed. This verbal agreement is an important part of closing a discussion about emotions and signals that you are both ready to leave the past behind and move on.

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  • Communicate after you've de-stressed. Trying to talk about your feelings when you're anxious or upset lowers the chances of you getting your message across. Calm down first then try to communicate your feelings.

About the Author

Mara Tyler is a writer and public relations consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than eight years of experience, she specializes in health, nutrition, women's lifestyle and marketing. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Science in public relations.

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