Young stressed mixed race businesswoman suffering from a headache while working on a desktop computer at work. One unhappy hispanic female businessperson suffering from anxiety while working on a computer at a desk in an office

Feedback Unscripted 6 of 9

In honor of our Learning Cycle Topic of Giving Effective Feedback, my friend and colleague, Angela Fucci, agreed to spend some time on zoom with me role-playing “good” and “bad” attempts at handling a variety of common feedback situations. We laughed, stumbling through some of the awkward conversations, and then discussed our key take-aways.

How to Tell Someone They Hurt Your Feelings

When someone hurts your feelings, the last thing you want to do is open yourself up to more hurt by telling them. Usually, we hide behind anger, or we withdraw. In most cases, the situation is never discussed, and, over time, it falls into the background. However, the relationship is just a little less solid on the inside because of the pain. Telling someone they hurt your feelings requires courage, but it’s not as hard as you might think.  This is especially true if you take responsibility for your feelings and give them the benefit of the doubt. In most cases, the person who hurt you is oblivious to how their words or actions impacted you.  

Here are some keys to having a good conversation with someone about hurt feelings:


1. DON’T assume that they know what they did. In most cases where feelings are hurt, the “hurter” is not doing it deliberately. They simply aren’t attuned to how you are experiencing their words and behavior. In most cases, they are caught up in their own experience of the situation, and they assume that you see the same things that they do.

2. DO take as much time as you need to have the conversation. These conversations don’t work well when you are still nursing your wounds. Wait until you are ready to give someone the benefit of the doubt and consider a possible positive intention behind their behavior.  Then you can own that your hurt feelings came from your interpretation of the situation, which is only one of many possible perspectives.

3. REMEMBER that giving someone the benefit of the doubt and acknowledging that they didn’t intend to hurt you doesn’t mean that you should treat the scenario as “no big deal”. It still was a big deal from your perspective because you were hurt, regardless of whether it was intentional. It’s important to acknowledge and validate your own hurt and do what it takes to heal. If someone is hurting you repeatedly, it’s still important to set boundaries, even if they apologize.

In the video below, Angela and I role play a situation where one of us does something hurtful and the other one brings it up later in a conversation. We demonstrate how when you’ve had time to calm down, you can still have a meaningful talk, and how these moments can actually be turned into opportunities to bring you closer. The video runs approximately 5 minutes. Enjoy!



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