Most of us are horrible at confrontation. We would rather stuff offenses under the rug and grow embittered than to talk to a person who has offended us. But there is a better way.
If you are like me, it can be really hard to bring up an issue with someone has offended or hurt you.
I play a game of, it is not a big deal, I’ll just let it slide and try to move on. Honestly, sometimes little things do disappear after you have slept on it, and you can just move on.
But then there are things that really offend and bother you. You know, the things you just can’t let go of. What do you do with those?
If you need to talk to someone and let them know they have hurt you, there is a simple formula that has helped me tremendously. I did not create it, but I heard a pastor teach it and I have used it non stop.
If you want to handle an offense in grace, remember 3 things.
To remember it, I say S.B.I. It is kind of like F.B.I, but not really. It is just the way I remember it.
When you sit down with the person who has insulted you, remind them of the situation. If you were wounded, you have stored every detail in your mind and heart, but the person who offended you might not remember the encounter at all. Simply remind them of the situation revolving around the offense. Something like this.
“Do you remember on Monday night when we were talking on the couch and I brought up the project I am working on at work?
That’s it. Simply remind them of the situation. You don’t have to go into incredible detail — just set up the scenario where the offense happened. The shorter, the better.
Remind them of their behavior. The key to this step is to not assume you know what their intentions were. Simply state the behavior. Speculating on what they meant or were thinking is a very risky endeavor with zero payoff, even if you are right. Stick with the behavior alone. No more, no less.
”… Right after I started trying to tell you about the issues I was experiencing, you pickup up your phone and started scrolling through Facebook instead of really listening to me.”
If you set up the scenario and reminded them of the behavior without assuming or accusing them of their intentions, this next part is the most crucial. It is where you can be understood. It is where you tell them the impact the behavior had on you. In my experience, the more concise you can explain the impact, the better. Don’t babble and beat around the bush. Use one or two sentences to explain the impact their behavior had on you. Be honest, but not rude.
“It hurt my feelings because over the last month I have worked really hard to finish the project. I am really proud of the work I am doing. When you started looking at your phone, it felt like you were not interested in something that is very important to me.”
The goal for this process is not to tell how wrong someone has been, but to tell them how their actions impacted you. Don’t accuse them. They will only go on the defensive. Simply tell them how the action impacted you.
A couple more tips.
If you struggle with your temper, work on relaxing and not making it into a big deal. The beauty of S.B.I is that it give you a way to talk though an issue without being super emotional.
If you struggle with confidence, make sure you tell the person the true impact the behavior had on you. Don’t hide.
Hard conversations are… hard. It is not easy to bring up things that have offended and hurt you. But the alternative is to live a facade, while you grow embittered and angry on the inside. Don’t do it. Have the hard conversation.