I Statements are a simple yet effective way to express strong feelings without placing blame or inciting conflict.
They take some practice, but with a little effort you will be well on your way to positive communication and less stress.
Here is the format:
I feel __________________ when______________ because__________________
Here are a few examples:
To a roommate/partner
- I feel irritated when dirty dishes are left on the counter because I enjoy coming home to a clean house (or- because it attracts bugs)
To a child:
- I feel upset when toys are not picked up because they can be tripped over and cause accidents
To a boss:
- I feel anxious when projects are assigned at the last minute because I don’t feel prepared to complete them to the company’s, and my own, high standards
You can use I Statements in any situation to reduce conflict and feelings of defensiveness from the other person as no blame is being assigned. You are simply expressing how you feel.
Everyone can walk away feeling good. You because you expressed yourself in a positive and productive way, rather than keeping those strong emotions bottled up, and the other person because they now know how you feel and were not blamed, yelled at, or put down.
I challenge you to practice using I Statements this week with different people (friends, co-workers, partners, while driving instead of yelling profanities!).
Report back on how they worked and any challenges you faced.