As we all know communication is the cornerstone of any significant and lasting relationship. Here are five simple ways to improve your communication.
Use my phrases below to make specific specific requests and/or complaints by describing the exact behavior that you want or do not like.
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Do your best to stay away from “you” statements such as, “you always, why can’t you,” people react defensively and resolving the conflict becomes unlikely.
Start by using “I” statements. Remember these are skills that take time and practice to develop and can be implemented at any stage of any type of relationship.
1. When ____ happens: Describe a specific behavior that you do not like. This helps you stay away from generalizations and character attacks.
2. I feel: use an emotion word, “ frustrated, sad, hurt, scared, alone.” If you find yourself saying “I feel like,” you’re actually about to describe a thought, not your emotion.
3. I think: Do not get long winded. Just give a quick explanation about what you think of their behavior. Example, “..it impacts our communication, I react by shutting down.”
4. I understand: Try and empathize with why your partner is doing the behavior that bothers you. Do your best to truly empathize rather than judge them. Do not say things such as, “I understand you only care about yourself.” Avoid name calling and criticizing, take this opportunity to disarm them.
5. I want and/or I need: Ask for exactly what you want or need. Be sure to phrase it in behavioral terms. When people make overly general requests, others often don’t know how to respond. Remember, you may not get your request met, but the ultimate goal is to express yourself without using contempt or criticism.
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