Ukrainian Madonna. Ukrainian family. Artist Valentina Samoilik-Artyuschenko, Ukraine

“There’s a conversation you’re avoiding. It feels important, the stakes are high, there are strong feelings involved and you are putting it off: ‘The time isn’t right’; ‘I can’t find the words’; ‘I don’t want to get emotional’.

But delaying doesn’t solve anything and anticipation is often far more uncomfortable than the conversation itself. Getting started might involve some awkward moments, but, after that, the situation is open for discussion and exploration.

Tried and tested approaches can help to smooth the way. Here are 10 useful tips from my experience as a psychotherapist and, developed while working in some of the highest-stakes discussions – the tender conversations taking place as people face the end of life. These principles apply whether you are chatting in person, over the phone or during a video call. You can even use them in text message conversations.

Instead of ‘difficult’ conversations, I call them ‘tender’ – and that attitude can make all the difference.”

Read the 10 tips via How to Say the Unsayable: 10 Ways to Approach a Sensitive, Daunting Conversation.

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