3. You. You as the first word in a sentence is never a good idea. Any and all comments to a spouse or partner saying what I think you think, feel or could do will sound bossy or invasive.
Therapists have a name for sentences that begin with the word you, or that begin "I think that you." They call these space-invaders you-statements. I also refer to you-statements as "crossovers." That's because in these sentences, the speaker crosses the boundary between self and other.
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Invading someone else's territory is provocative and it feels threatening. That's why you statements create negative energy and push people away. Instead, use I statements which are sentences that start withthe word I. Sharing insights by starting sentences with I enhances feelings of closeness and intimacy between people. RELATIONSHIPS ARE SUCH A GIFT!
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Ready to practice removing these needlessly provocative three-letter words? If so, make a list of emotionally sensitive issues and then try discussing them, one by one, using your freshly cleaned-up speech. Learning how to communicate collaboratively enables folks to turn potentially sensitive conversations into delightfully productive, intimate talks. Try it!
Susan Heitler PhD is a clinicial psychologist in Denver who specializes in helping couples build lasting, loving relationships. Her fun website, PowerOfTwoMarriage.com, teaches the communication and conflict resolution skills for relationship success.