Conversation Breaks

We all need breaks sometimes in challenging conversations. This is a helpful write-up on why taking conversation breaks can sometimes be exactly what is needed.

Both the graphic with suggestions and the write-up below were posted on the Gottman Institute Facebook page on January 12, 2022.

“One of my favorite strategies to teach people is that they’re actually allowed to pause difficult conversations. The Gottman Institute‘s research illustrates how we can become emotionally flooded and actually completely unable to communicate properly during emotionally charged conversations. This is why the whole “don’t go to bed angry” advice is actually super flawed. You can and should take breaks when you’re overwhelmed and talking about something hard.

I know some of us want to finish convos like NOW and we want a resolution. So, when someone asks you to table a conversation or to take a break, it can really create anxiety.

Whenever you decide you need a break, it’s important to address it, make it clear, and give some type of security that you will be returning to the conversation later. The goal here is to create safety, calm down, and come back to it later. This isn’t the strategy to use when you want to avoid talking about something and brush it under the rug.

If you need more time than you initially said, fine. Tell them! What’s important here is that you’ve stated your need, used the time to regulate yourself and gain clarity, and then returned to the conversation to either continue or let them know what you may need.”

Learn how to love smarter by taking a break. Read more on the Gottman Relationship Blog:

Illustration and copy by Whitney Goodman, LMFT (Whitney – sitwithwhit)