Difficult Conversations: Navigating the Tension between Honesty and Benevolence [post]

Emma Levine, Annabelle Roberts, Taya R. Cohen
2019 unpublished
Difficult conversations are a necessary part of everyday life. To help children, employees, and partners learn and improve, parents, managers, and significant others are frequently tasked with the unpleasant job of delivering negative news and critical feedback. Despite the long-term benefits of these conversations, communicators approach them with trepidation, in part, because they perceive them as involving intractable moral conflict between being honest and being kind. In this article, we
more » ... iew recent research on egocentrism, ethics, and communication to explain why communicators overestimate the degree to which honesty and benevolence conflict during difficult conversations, document the conversational missteps people make as a result of this erred perception, and propose more effective conversational strategies that honor the long-term compatibility of honesty and benevolence. This review sheds light on the psychology of moral tradeoffs in conversation, and provides practical advice on how to deliver unpleasant information in ways that improve recipients' welfare.
doi:10.31234/osf.io/3rwm7 fatcat:qgxyckdhanddbnqlfcs6ksptla