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Awkward Conversations

Whether you're a high-powered professional, a shy homemaker or somewhere in between, having a frank conversation with someone for whom you hold great affection can be very difficult. A new book, "Lifescripts For Family And Friends" gives us a blueprint for some of these difficult conversations. Erik Kolbell, the author, discusses it on Tuesday's Early Show.

In this book, the author cites 101 problems or situations one may face at one time or another.

Kolbell calls these difficult situations "Lifescripts" and he has tactics on how to handle any given problem. The tactics involved are: Attitude, Preparation, Timing and Behavior along with a diagram on how to handle each level of the discussion.

If you're tackling the issue of how your parents treat your spouse, for example, Kolbell says your opening statement should start with, "... you probably don't realize what's going on...when you say certain things to my wife, you don't know how it affects her..."

"You have to establish a united front and support your spouse by saying this is how we both feel," he says.

Also important, it is to anticipate a negative response.

"...You have no right to talk to me that way..." says Kobell as an example, or that person may defend their turf," he notes. Also he advises that speakers focus on one specific issue. You can say, "... This is something that causes pain to me and my wife..." he says. "Even if your parents try to deflect that -- just keep driving the same point," he adds.

And as a closing statement, here is an example of what you would want to say "... we really didn't want to hurt anyone..."

Kolbell is an ordained minister and practicing family psychotherapist in New York. He is the author of three books. He has also written for The New York Times, as well as Child and Parents magazines, offering practical advice for navigating everyday transactions.

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