Two words: body language. Ms. de Cadenet said she learned how to read body language as a means of survival as a 15-year-old when she was in a juvenile detention center. ”You can sense whether someone is retreating from you: They look away, they cross their arms, they’ll shift their focus, they will turn their body away,” she said. Also, pay attention to their eyes. “When I was interviewing Hillary Clinton, I knew when I’d ask her something that she wasn’t going to give me the complete truth because she would break eye contact with me.”
How to have a hard conversation
Call out the elephant in the room. In Ms. de Cadenet’s book, she outlines a conversation she had with a friend who confessed to her that she was sleeping with a married man. To have a difficult talk, Ms. de Cadenet starts by acknowledging the awkwardness. “Just say, ‘This really uncomfortable for both of us. This is not a conversation I want to have. And I know you don’t. But I think we have to talk about this,’” she said.
How to create that safe space
Be trustworthy. “You have to be someone that when your friends tell you something, they don’t hear it back from other people.” Also, be willing to share your own feelings. “I’ve been privileged to be able to be a part of some of my girlfriends’ lives at their breaking points,” said Ms. de Cadenet, who was friends with Gwyneth Paltrow when she “uncoupled” from Chris Martin, as well as with Amber Heard when she accused Johnny Depp of domestic violence. “And they will be in the trenches with you at some point. Over time, that creates safety.”
How do you know how much to share about yourself?
Consider the impact. Ms. de Cadenet has had her life blasted on the British tabloids since she was a teenager, and she does not advocate oversharing, especially on social media. “I think we are in major T.M.I. culture right now,” she said. “I share personal things about myself in the context of my interviews and in ‘It’s Messy’ — but that’s 20 percent of my life. There is another 80 percent that hasn’t been talked about, or it’s not all the information. It’s enough that I needed to illustrate that story.”
How to know when to have a conversation
Research and know the facts. For some parents, talking about pornography with their children at a young age seems inappropriate. But Ms. de Cadenet knows that young people come across, and search for, pornography at…