Beware! Saying “You” in conversations can be dangerous!
We all know what it is like when someone says to us, “You need to…”, or “Why are you always…?” It immediately puts us on the defensive.
Speaking on behalf of ourselves is effective. Saying I, Me, My, and Mine helps people stay open to what we are saying. But so does speaking on behalf of the relationship.
Recently I had a conversation with someone that left me feeling confused. Instead of saying, “You confused me,” I said, “Our conversation confused me.” By using the word “Our” I point to the relationship. I, of course, could also have said, “I feel confused,” and that would have been fine as well.
Other examples of speaking on behalf of the relationship include:
- “The team needs you to arrive on time.” versus “You need to arrive on time.”
- “The family really needs you here.” versus “You need to be here more.”
- “We need more fun in our relationship.” versus “You are so serious all the time.”
Can you feel the difference? We want people to feel safe and open. By speaking on behalf of the relationship the impact is softer, more welcoming.
Remember, in communication your primary goal is to create, nurture and sustain connection. Being aware of your language and tone is essential. The slightest change in either will help or hinder someone’s receptivity to you.
Summary of relationship words:
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4 Keys to Conscious Communication
Conscious Communication ~ Creative, Compassionate & Productive Communication