A Good Communication Technique
Human beings are social beings and we are interacting with people every day of our life.
Often, our happiness depends a great deal on how the interactions with each person turn out.
This is especially true of those whom we care about e.g. in close friendships as well as in marriage.
However, because each personality we deal with is unique and presents its own challenges, managing the myriad of relationships requires us to consciously observe the process and impact of our interactions so that we continue to gain knowledge, understanding and experience in developing relationships in a positive way.
I have realized that to have good management of relationships, we need to be assertive and honest in sharing our thoughts, feelings and concerns.
However, this needs to be done in a way that does not provoke the other party, but is instead respectful and encourages both parties to listen to each other.
A good way to do this is through the communication technique of "I" Messages.
In "I" messages, statements are made about ourselves, how we feel and our concerns, and what actions of the other party has led to the concerns.
"You" messages focus on the other person and would usually lead the other party to become defensive unless the "You" message is a positive statement of the other person.
For example, a husband or wife is waiting for the return of the spouse and when the spouse returns, he or she might be greeted by this: "You are always coming home late! Why can't you come back earlier?"
This "You" message leads to the spouse feeling blamed and attacked and the ensuing communication would likely not be an amiable one.
In a conflicting situation, "You" message focuses on attacking the other person.
As a result, the primary issues are pushed aside.
In contrast, in this same scenario, an "I" message would look like this: "I feel rather lonely while waiting for you to come home. I'm concerned that you are often home late and I get rather frustrated wondering when you're going to be home."