Moving is a stressful.  Deciding to move is stressful.  In addition, a decision to move is almost always linked to another stressful life event.  If your business partnership is dissolving, then one or both of you may need to change your office space or store front.  If your marriage or common-law relationship is ending, one of you is probably planning to move.  If your elderly parent is in the hospital and can’t return home, a move is inevitable.  These stressful events can increase conflict and result in unproductive discussions about what to do next.  If you’ve tried talking with the others involved to come up with a solution and the conversation didn’t go well, stay tuned for some helpful tips.

Firstly, choose a time to discuss the “move” options when both of you are feeling well-rested, have eaten, and have at least an hour free.  Your conversation may not take an hour, but it’s easier to have a time cushion in case it does.  Make an agreement with the person ahead of time about when and where you will meet.  Rather than getting into all the details when you’re arranging to talk, try something like…

“I’d like to talk about where both of us are going to live. How about tonight after dinner? ”   OR

“Dad, we’d like to talk with you about options for you when you get out of the hospital.  Would tomorrow after lunch work?”

Secondly, before the meeting, make a list of your own interests (eg. Needs, hopes, motivators, fears) regarding the move.  Some examples are: affordable rent/mortgage payment, financial security, planning my time off, sentimental value of certain items, and keeping moving costs low.

Thirdly, think about some of the interests the other person might have.  When you do meet, it is important to ask them open questions to find out their interests.  It’s helpful to think about what these might be ahead of time.  Guard yourself against only seeing their motivators as against you.  Instead of thinking “she wants to get as much of my money as possible”, think, “she wants financial security just like I do”.

During your conversation, try some questions like:

“What’s most important to you about where you live?”

“What do you think will be most difficult in this transition?”

“What problems would you like to avoid?”

Be prepared to state your own answers to these questions as well.  Being direct and open is a great way to build trust in the conversation.  If you state your intention to find a solution that works for both of you, that can go along way towards building a bridge over the problem.

Some situations require the assistance of a third party.  Don’t hesitate to contact a mediator to assist if you have a big problem and the conversations aren’t going well.