One way we can have effective communication in our lives is to shift from statements that center on “you” (pointing to the other person in the conversation) to statements that center on “I.” When we can shift to “I” statements in our conversations, we avoid blaming the other person. Avoiding blame is imperative in effective communication because when we place blame, the other person will inevitably adopt a defensive attitude. When we use “I” statements, we lower the levels of blame; we lower the automatic defensiveness, and we are able to take responsibility for our feelings.
You are late again. It is inconsiderate if I fix dinner for you.
Do you sense the blame that comes across in that example? Let’s try a different approach.
I feel unappreciated when you don’t come home in time for dinner.
Use of the “I” statement here highlights the feelings without placing blame. Use of the “I” statement also provides opportunity for the other person to respond from a genuine place as opposed to immediately becoming defensive.
This one shift in communication style can impact conversations in our relationships in such positive ways. I feel excited knowing you are going to try these out today. (See what I did there?)