Write/type a one page letter (8.5 x 11 size). It will consist of 3 paragraphs about equal size. The size of the paragraphs and letter is important so that you limit the amount of “emotional vomiting”.
Paragraph 1: Explain to the person what they mean to you, how you appreciate them.
Paragraph 2: Explain why you’re upset. Stick to feelings and facts only. Do NOT blame, attack, accuse, etc.
Paragraph 3: Explain what you hope the outcome will be. Do NOT demand anything from the person. You can state what you’re willing to do to help correct the problem.
After you’re done writing, you do NOT give the letter to the person. Instead, you read it to them (make sure they have time). You make occasional eye-contact when reading, and you make sure your social cues are non-threatening (tone, volume, expression, posture). Then you allow the person the right to react or not react. If they need time to think, you give them time to think. If they have questions/comments it is now their turn to talk.
Why does this work? For one, you are planning out what is important and not important. You get to say what you need to say without trying to remember in the moment. This also limits your reactivity. The letter is comprised of 3 parts for a reason: paragraph 1 is positive, paragraph 2 deals with your issue, and paragraph 3 goes back to the positive again. It’s like surrounding a problem with love and it makes it easier for the other person to accept. Each part is about equal length so that you’re not over complaining or over complimenting.
I know it can be scary even communicating for fear that one more word can push the person away. But try to remember that the only way to get past this hurdle is to be clear and honest about everything and put in the effort towards finding a solution.