How do you start an uncomfortable conversation?

I avoid uncomfortable conversations and conflict as much as I can. When it comes to saying no, I have a real issue spitting this word out. A lot of time is therefore wasted feeling like a doormat and sometimes seething with resentment because everyone else merrily carries on their way whilst I feel a little hard done by.

Saying no at work is unheard of from me. Saying no in a social situation isn’t much easier.

Last year before Christmas a group of our friends got together and had a Christmas party. Much planning was put into the event as we discussed dinner options, who was bringing what and the ‘secret Santa’ gifts everyone would buy. We agreed on an amount for the gifts (each couple would bring 2 gifts – each to the value of R50).

Due to the fact that I am more a baker than a chef I offered to bake part of the dessert and bring other things. A huge platter for the starter of fresh veggies, olives, feta cheese and dips to go with it. I also brought two salads and different cheeses and biscuits. This combined with the dessert (made from scratch) cost over R300. Over R400 with the gifts. It would literally have been cheaper to eat out.

So you can imagine my irritation when someone announced proudly how their gammon cost them R120 and acted like they were Santa Claus with their generosity. Or the couple who literally only contributed 2 salads and a couple of Christmas crackers to put on the table and looked incredibly proud of themselves. What happened to contributing equally? Yes some couples brought meat dishes but we spent more than double what everyone else did.

So when I received a message last night saying it was time to start planning the next one I groaned loudly. I refuse to spend the same amount of money while others spend a fraction and think it is okay. But how does one say that out loud without looking like Scrooge?

Which brings me to my question. How do you broach uncomfortable conversations when you know you are right but it will upset everyone around you.


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