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.
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!
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.