Communication 101 for Daughters and Mothers – #4 The One Word To Avoid When There’s Conflict

By Val Boyko • July 3rd, 2011

Have you experienced a conversation with your mother or daughter, and before you know it, it becomes open warfare? Something has been triggered big time!

woman-pointing-fingerToday’s tip is to share with you the one word that is sure to push buttons and put the other person on the defensive.

Avoid saying  “YOU”!

Let me explain….

Using the “You” word works great when we have something positive to say. For example: You look great! You did good! You are very special to me!

However, when it comes to communicating a different point of view, giving feedback, or if you sense there might be conflict, “You” puts the other person on the defense.

It’s become really personal. Its as if you are pointing a finger at them.

As soon as you say “you”, they are getting ready to defend and attack. This is a knee jerk reaction that will take your conversation off track and into conflict.

How does it feel if someone tells you: You are wrong! You don’t understand! You aren’t listening! You need to stop that!  You are stupid!

It doesn’t feel good does it. These are all accusations and judgments about you. It isn’t about a behavior or a situation, it’s like a finger pointing directly at your worth and into your very being. OUCH!!!!

So, when you want to get your message across without the other person feeling attacked,  instead of using a “You” message, start with an “I” message.  If you start with “I”, the focus is on how you are feeling and how you are affected by the other person’s actions or words. You are taking ownership of your feeling and reactions, without judgment or blame.

Here are some examples:

“You” Message: “You need to stop that!”
“I” Message: “I’d like it if you’d stop that.”

“You” Message:”You are wrong!”
“I” Message: “I have a different point of view”

If you can’t think of a quick response. This one is really useful. “I’m getting triggered!”

 

Think about what other “I” messages you could use to replace the triggering “You” messages.

Val’s Comment: Thank YOU! I really appreciate you reading this and am grateful for you listening to me! Undoing old communication habits takes time and practice. Have some responses at the ready for the next time you feel a judgment and accusation coming on!

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