Using phrases like “you should,” “you never,” and “you’re supposed to” can immediately put the other person on the defensive.
- When making statements, it’s better to begin with “I feel” or “I’d like.” By using “I” statements, nobody can argue with the fact that you feel a certain way.
- Take responsibility for your words. Instead of protesting with phrases like “Don’t be late as usual,” which only reinforce complaints, try inviting positive change by saying, “It would be helpful for me if you could arrive early tonight, maybe by six.”
- Saying “I don’t care” or “You choose” might not make you seem pleasant and agreeable. The other person may resent being forced to make decisions on your behalf.
- Phrases like “I hate to be a pain, but…” or “I could be wrong, but…” undermine your request before you even make it.
- Saying “I know” can make you appear irritating, self-important, or unreceptive. Instead, using “You’re right” doesn’t belittle something the other person may have just realized. “Yes, that’s on my mind!” acknowledges the other person’s reminder.
- If someone apologizes anxiously, don’t say, “Stop saying sorry.” Instead, saying, “You have nothing to apologize for,” is more reassuring and won’t make the other person feel awkward.
Idea for Impact: Using direct and concise language strengthens the message and clarifies your needs. Be mindful of language that may unintentionally cause offense, distress, or discomfort to others. Prioritizing empathy and open-mindedness can contribute to maintaining respectful and inclusive conversations.