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Lots of people commit this communication sin, but men are especially likely to do it.
If a woman is talking about a problem she’s having with one of her friends or at work, instead of hearing her out and letting her talk about the situation, her boyfriend often will jump in immediately with the “obvious answer” to the problem. She may have just needed to express her feelings—not have him make everything better or try to rescue her.
When you make “you” statements, all your partner hears is blame and criticism.
“I” statements, on the other hand, are much more effective, because they allow your message to be correctly heard and understood.
Nothing shuts down communication quicker than a judgmental attitude.
So if your partner is telling you something that’s important to him or her, or is trying to express certain feelings, do your best to avoid saying something like “No, that’s terrible idea” or “That’s crazy to feel that way!
And you feel like it’s totally unfair.” This kind of response lets the other person know you’ve really tuned in to what he or she is saying.
This technique—which is also called “reflective listening”—can be especially helpful when you two are arguing.
“I” statements dispense information to be understood by your partner rather than accusations to be defended.” Instead, try to listen reflectively to what’s being said and to do so with an attitude of acceptance.Don’t be a “Fixer” Another no-no is jumping in right away to try to fix your partner’s problem.Make “I” Statements, Not “You” Statements When we get upset with or feel hurt by a partner, our natural tendency is to automatically attack: “You drive me crazy!You never ask my opinion when you decide something important!“I” statements are much more likely to elicit concern and caring from your partner: “I’m sorry.I had no idea you were feeling that way.” “I” statements don’t cause defensiveness, because they don’t seem to be pointing out how bad your partner is.For example, if your partner says something like “I can’t believe I didn’t get that promotion!I’ve been there a year longer than that guy,” then you might respond, “That really made you mad, didn’t it?Then, after you feel as though he or she has had a chance to express those feelings, it can be helpful to use the phrase “I’ve got some ideas that might be helpful when you’re ready.” Remember your Body Language Keep in mind that how you communicate is often as important as what’s actually being said.So whether you’re talking or listening, pay attention to what you’re communicating nonverbally.