How you communicate your message will impact how it is received
Learning if, when, and how to let someone know what you are feeling and thinking is extremely important. How many times has each one of us walked away from a situation saying to ourselves “I wish I had said …”, or “I wished I hadn’t said…?
What is the intent of your communication? Is it to help someone get to know you better? Or to improve or change some dynamic in the relationship? Or, is it just to prove a point and make the other person feel bad, so you can feel better?
What are the possible consequences of speaking your truth? What are the possible consequences of not speaking it?
If you know that your motivations are going to enrich or improve the situation, and are willing to accept possible consequences, go for it.
Timing is everything. If situation is not dangerous, waiting until your thoughts and feelings about an emotionally charged topic are clear can be helpful. Often people reflexively respond out of habit, a sense of self righteousness, or because they have difficulty tolerating or sitting with feelings that make them uncomfortable.
Make sure that the person you want to talk to is emotionally available at that time – for example, talking to someone about a drinking problem while they are drunk, or sharing a personal anxiety or insecurity with someone who may be anxious at that moment themselves, will not get you the result you desire.
Since your goal is to improve the situation, make sure the person is in the right frame of mind to hear what you say.
The “hows” will be influenced by what information is being shared. Is it something personal that is difficult to talk about? Something embarrassing that you want kept private? Choose wisely whom you decide to tell or ask advice from, and possibly even state some of your concerns at the beginning.
Use “I” statements about your feelings, especially when it involves something someone might have done that has upset you. “You” statements set off a defensive reaction and can be experienced as an attack.