November 6, 2013


In stressful situations, you need to express your thoughts and feelings in a clear, approachable and honest way that the people you’re speaking with can understand and respond to positively. Therefore, begin your sentence with ‘I feel...’ rather than ‘You should...'. In this way, you adopt an attitude that takes responsibility for your own emotions instead of dealing other people the ‘You make me feel’ guilt-trip card, which is bound to create anger and resentment.

Speaking from the I-position is a non-judgemental way of describing other people’s behavior that’s causing you difficulty, without blaming or judging the other person. It consists of four parts: your feelings; the other person’s behavior; how the behavior connects to your feelings; and what you need
to happen.

Speaking from the I-position requires a healthy dose of self disclosure, which can lead you into vulnerable territory. A potential feeling of exposure, however, is worth the discomfort if your words and attitude extinguish arguments rather than fan the flames. When people speak from the I-position they stay more connected than if they revert to name calling–even in emotionally charged encounters.

A benefit of ‘I-statements’ is that because they focus on your feelings, the other person can’t argue or disagree. You’re not blaming or holding them accountable for your emotions, you’re just telling them how you feel. When you blame people you leave yourself open to disagreement and argument.

By speaking from the I-position you’re being clear about your feelings and what you need from the other person.

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