I shared this weekend a method I was taught about leadership and having a hard or difficult discussion with a team member, a friend or even yourself. Mattresses are soft and there are times when you need to have a discussion that can and will be difficult. Putting the mattress down first is a technique of addressing someones positive qualities and strengths before you get to the hard stuff. A positive team player and strong communicator can also be the one who comes in late and leaves early a lot.
The Mattress: You are a positive team player and communicate well with others.
The Hard Stuff: We appreciate your energy and we need it here for the full day.
Even if you know someone really well, starting off with the difficult part of the conversation first can put them on the defensive and then less apt to hear anything else you say. The mattress is the soft spot to land when you giving the hard talk.