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Copilot Teen Q&A: Is there a nice way to say mean things?

By Iuri Melo

Yes, there absolutely is. Many people struggle with how to be honest and direct in their conversations without coming across as unnecessarily hurtful or aggressive. It is possible to have an open and honest discussion without resorting to meanness and disrespect. The key is to lead with humility, check your tone and words, use a preface or introduction, ask for permission, and use the crap sandwich approach.

Leading with humility means coming from a place of openness and understanding that you may not always be right. It helps to approach conversations with the understanding that you may need to adjust your opinion, and that the other person may have a different perspective. It can also be helpful to acknowledge that you are open to hearing different points of view. This helps to create an environment of openness and respect.

It is also important to check your tone and words. Aggressive words and raised voices can often cause an instant defense response in the other person and make it more difficult to have a productive conversation. Instead, keep your voice calm and avoid using language that is inflammatory or that will put the other person on the defensive.

When having a difficult conversation, it can be helpful to use a preface or introduction. For example, you could say something like “I have something important to talk to you about, when is it good for you?” or “Can we talk about something that’s hard for me a little later?” This helps to set the stage for a productive conversation and helps to create an atmosphere of openness and understanding.

It can also be helpful to ask for permission before sharing an opinion or observation. This helps to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. It also helps to create a safe space where both parties can feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of being judged or attacked.

Finally, it can be helpful to use the “crap sandwich” approach. This means starting off with something nice or complimentary, then giving the advice or feedback, and finally ending with something else that is nice or hopeful. This helps to create an atmosphere of understanding and respect, and also gives the other person time to process and think through what you are saying.

Overall, it is possible to be honest and direct without resorting to meanness and disrespect. By leading with humility, checking your tone and words, using a preface or introduction, asking for permission, and using the crap sandwich approach, you can have open and honest conversations while still being kind and respectful.

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