A key to successful communications is to talk about your own feelings and needs using “I” statements. Starting with yourself can open up a conversation and be more effective at avoiding or resolving conflict.
Looking at these statements how do you think the conversation will go from here?
You statement: “Why are you always late?”
But change it to an “I” statement: “I feel anxious when you don’t get home when you said you would.”
Take some time to think about how you could use “I” statements to help communicate in your relationships. Write down some examples, based on previous conversations, in your Penny Brohn journal.
These tactics are also helpful in getting what you really mean across:
- Talk about yourself, not the other person. Start sentences with: “I need, I would like, I feel …”
- If you want someone to understand how their actions have made you feel be specific about the situation, the behaviour and the impact.
- Introduce a listening symbol. Often we struggle to talk to our loved ones because we feel they don’t listen or they interrupt. Introduce an object which you must be holding in order to talk, while you aren’t holding the object you need to be the one listening until it’s your turn.