While it is true that most of the communication, we engage in is made up of small talk and relatively low stakes subjects. But we are in very different times. The COVID-19 pandemic is creating major challenges for our residential rental system. The lockdown of businesses has meant an almost overnight loss of jobs or reduced hours for many. Many tenants are struggling to pay their rent and renters in many states are protected by a temporary moratorium on evictions.
It’s important to remember it isn’t just renters who are struggling. Landlords are too. Very few properties are owned by large corporations. Most properties are owned by smaller landlords and COVID-19 has dealt a blow to their relatively safe bricks-and-mortar investments.
As human beings, we have in our nature an inherent need to communicate our deepest feelings and thoughts with the people around us. In order to truly build and maintain meaningful relationships, difficult conversations must be had at times.
It is essential to be able to express and listen to more serious issues in an effective way.
In this article, we are going to describe 5 ways that will allow you to handle difficult conversations with your tenants.
During these difficult times it is important to know how to have difficult conversations with your tenants.
Listen From A Place Of Understanding
When someone is trying to talk to you about a touchy subject, the last thing they want is to feel like you are judging them during the conversation. During difficult conversations, make sure that your verbal and nonverbal reactions in no way convey judgment.
Little things like raising your eyebrows, recoiling or especially, gasping are all sure-fire ways to make the other person far less comfortable continuing the conversation. Similarly, replying with words or tones that come across as surprised or offended will cause the same reaction.
Validate The Persons Feelings
Whether or not the subject seems serious or important to you, it very well may to the other person. Be sure not to disregard or belittle what someone else is expressing. Saying things like “oh, that’s not a big deal” or “I wouldn’t worry about that” are examples of downplaying another persons concerns. Each of us are going through life from varying perspectives, what may be nothing of concern for you could very well be a source of anxiety and stress for someone else.
If someone trusts you enough to talk about difficult things going on in their life, the absolute WORST thing you can do is violate this trust. Unless what they have told you is something that could be an immediate threat to their health and safety, keep the conversation between the two of you.
As we all know, trust is so hard to build and very easy to destroy. All it takes is one instance of violating someone’s trust to cause lasting damage in a relationship.
Another common mistake people make in difficult conversations is replying with a similar situation or problem they have experienced and acting like it is the same thing. Even if what someone expresses to you sounds exactly like an issue you have been through, it is not.
As unique individuals, things affect each of us in different ways. By simply telling another person “I know exactly how you feel” or “I have been through the same thing”, you are taking some of the importance of what they are feeling away. Nobody likes talking to a “one-upper”, avoid being that person.
Chances are, if someone tells you about something really important, the issue they are conveying has been going on for quite some time and will probably be a lasting predicament. This is why checking up on them and asking about how the issue is progressing is critical.
Feeling as if you are going through a difficult situation alone is a horrible place to be. By bringing up the issue even after the initial conversation, you are letting the other person know that you have been thinking about them and are genuinely concerned about their well being.
A key aspect of any meaningful relationship is the ability to have difficult conversations. Think about these tips the next time someone opens up to you.