A great deal has been said and written about adult communication, boundaries, being responsible TO others and handling difficult conversations.
Depending on whom you listen to there is a risk of acquiring the label “people pleaser” or “co-dependent” if you do not tackle things head on and have that ‘necessary conflict’.
Personally I find there are a few steps worth taking before committing to direct, adult, “this is how I feel about things” communication.
1) If you feel wronged, check the other person actually done something wrong. Sure they may not have done what you wanted, but are they clearly and without question in the wrong?
2) Is there a positive interpretation to their actions or words? Have you looked for (and found) a ton of possible excuses for them?
3) If you weigh the advantages of speaking your mind against the damage you may do the other person’s feelings and your relationship, is it worth it?
4) Is it honestly your place to say anything?
5) Is there a hidden agenda behind your words? If you are angry with someone, or have been hurt by them, is this what’s driving you? You may disguise things behind a screen of giving sincere advice or the like, but if your motivation is to lash out that isn’t fair. Deal with your feelings before taking them out on someone else.
6) Are you really being adult, respecting boundaries and being responsible or are you using “adult” catchphrases to express childish or critical sentiments?
A few times I have witnessed “adult” communication which is, in reality, far from adult and causes unnecessary pain and upset. Sometimes the old-fashioned idea of being a nice, easy going person is the right way to go.