Nicole Bensen

A tool for tough conversations

BLARCIFT. Pronounced: BLAR-sift.

It’s okay if you have no idea what I’m talking about, friend, because this acronym started as a joke when a client was asking for tips to protect herself during emotional conversations, and I was trying to come up with an easy way to remember these. We laughed at how we’d never remember BLARCIFT, but somehow, it stuck.

So if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by someone else’s emotions during a conversation (whether the emotions were directed at you or not) try this technique to keep yourself bubbled and move the conversation forward.


a tool for tough (emotional) conversations

Breathe & Bubble: Take a breath and imagine a protective bubble around you. You can see and hear each other, but their emotions can’t touch you.

Listen Actively: Eye contact, neutral posture, arms uncrossed. Show you’re truly hearing them.

Acknowledge: Validate their feelings without taking them on yourself. “I can tell this really hurt you, and it’s understandable you’re feeling angry.”

Repeat & Summarize: Show you understand and respect their perspective. “It sounds like you’re frustrated about…”

Check-in: Take a moment to check-in with yourself. How are YOU feeling? What do you need in this moment?

I Statements: Own your experience without blaming. “I feel disrespected when you raise your voice.”

Focus on the Problem: Team up against the issue, not each other. “We both want to move forward, so let’s put our energy on figuring out a solution.”

Take a Break: If things get heated, step away. Continue the conversation when you’re both in a calmer state. (You can “T” take a break at any point!)

So…what do you think? Is the term “BLARCIFT” going to catch on? (This clip keeps playing in my head: “It’s my new, cool, hip word. Spread it around like wildfire.” Comment below if you know where this is from). 😂

Cheering for you!

P.S. Want to see this info in a prettier format? Check it out on Instagram here.

P.P.S. Looking for wellbeing, networking, or psych safety support for your team? Check out my team building workshops here.



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