How to Discuss Hurt Feelings

Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Every kind of relationship can bring you face to face with hurt feelings. It's important to address these instances of hurt in order to avoid letting negative feelings fester and turn into resentment, but bringing up a sore subject requires delicacy. By being diplomatic, tactful and thoughtful in how you handle your hurt feelings, the discussion can be a stepping stone to a stronger relationship.

Step 1

Take some time to think about what happened. Wait to address the issue until the initial, strongest wave of hurt has subsided. This will help you deal with the issue with a clearer head and from a more neutral point of view.

Step 2

Identify your own issues and how they may have come into play. Ask yourself if the hurt feelings in this situation reflect other times and similar situations in which you've felt hurt, especially if people have commented that you are “easily hurt.”

Step 3

Separate this incident in your mind from other times when this person may have hurt your feelings. Resolve to handle those incidents separately from this one even if you can see a pattern in the events and the hurt you feel is connected and cumulative.

Step 4

Tell the other person you'd like to talk to her about something that happened between the two of you. Ask politely by saying something like “Can we have a talk about...” rather than of more demanding statements like “We need to talk.”

Step 5

Reassure the person before discussing the hurt feelings. Thank him for being willing to talk to you and for his interest in clearing things up. As appropriate, remind the person of the reasons you appreciate and care for him and why that makes it so important to you to clear the air.

Step 6

Inform the other person that your feelings were hurt and why. Use “I” statements and discuss your feelings rather than making guesses about her intentions. Own up to any reasons for your hurt feelings that have to do with your own issues, but ask for some indulgence and sensitivity on those points.

Step 7

Let the other person process your statements in his own way. Do not demand an apology or action. Let him take the lead in moving the conversation in the direction of fixing his behavior. If he don't seem to care that your feelings were hurt, you may need to reconsider this relationship.