I Statements and You Statements. If you learn to master these, you might just win the day and save yourself from suffering a giant blow out.
First rule of disagreement: If you or the person you have a beef with is currently upset in some way, which is absolutely NOT the time to have the discussion. All that is going to happen at this point is yelling. So make it a point to take a breath, suggest your fellow combatant do the same, and put the issue aside temporarily until you can both calm down. Nothing can be accomplished when people are upset. (As you might have notice)
In fact, go ahead and preempt future conversation by suggesting to your mate the implementation of this rule. You can say something to the tune of, “You know, in the future, when we get into disagreements, let’s agree that if we start to get upset that we will end the discussion right then and go to our corners until we are calm again.” If this rule is already in place, then both parties will be much more understand when things start to get heated if that yellow flag is raised.
2nd Rule: Quit using You Statements. Don’t know what those are? You Statements are the statements that we make to each other that usually begin with “you” and usually end with some type of accusation. Example: “You never take out the trash!” The primary feature that we must keep in mind about You Statements is that they are basically an attack. And what happens when we are attacked? We get defensive. It’s human nature. If you are under attack you are going to feel like you need to defend yourself, and if you are directing You Statements at somebody, their natural inclination is going to be defense.
3rd Rule: Start using I statements. I statements are the opposite of You Statements. They begin with “I” and end with a statement about how the situation is affecting you. So if we take the same example about taking out the trash and convert it to an I Statement it would look something like this: “I feel like I am always doing more around the house than is fair and I would appreciate some help.” The primary feature of I Statements (which is contrasted with You Statements) is that rather than attacking someone you are letting them understand how the situation is affecting you, and any normal person’s natural inclination is to help other people, so when you are telling someone that you are being affected negatively in some way, their natural inclination will be to help you not to be negatively affected.
If you start replacing You Statements with I Statements and wait until you are both calm to have the discussion, I promise you will find your success rate significantly increases. You will both be more likely to get the things you want, your communication will be better, and it will lead to a healthier happier relationship.
| || |