While it might feel good to get what’s on our minds, off of our chests— what we need to say and how we feel we should communicate it don’t always go hand-in-hand. Blasting others with statements starting with “You,” are the quickest way to put someone on the defensive, escalating the situation by assigning blame, and potentially closing down what could have been an open door to communication.
“YOU NEED TO…”
“WHY DON’T YOU…”
“YOU”… YOU”… “YOU.”
Criticizing other peoples’ behavior, decisions, or choices is judgement, and our word choices and how we communicate our perspective can potentially stifle the other person’s self-reflection on the truth of our statements. They may too busy pushing back or running from the conversation to actually absorb it. Flipping our statements and beginning them in the first person– “I”– empower us with the responsibility of our feelings (for example, “I feel frustrated when”… “I feel upset because”… “I feel it is unfair that”…). When we try owning and communicating our viewpoint first, rather than hurling what might be felt as hard thrown accusations, we might find a partner on the other end more willing to listen.