Say what happened + how you feel about it + what you need
- Say what happened. Use factual statements that focus on behavior not person-hood, rather than using guilt or shame messages that focus on telling the other person they are bad or stupid for acting the way they did.
- Say how you feel. Use "I" statements to own your own feelings and take responsibility for your own actions. Avoid "you" statements that blame the other person.
- Ask for what you need. Rather than pouting, acting sick or needy, slamming doors or sighing deeply we can give straight, clear messages about what we need from others.
Let's say your mom puts a tuna sandwich in your lunch bag everyday for a whole month, and you feel like you can't ever face another tuna sandwich again in your whole life! How are you going to get your mom to stop? You could try-
Skid talking: "I think tunas are becoming extinct, and we better protect them."
Blaming/Guilt trip: "How come you never give me a good lunch like all the other kids get?"
Pouting, whining or the silent treatment: "If you don't give me something else in my lunch tomorrow I'll never speak to you again!" Then you stomp out of the room and refuse to talk the rest of the night.
Fantasy: You simply throw your tuna sandwich away each day and hope your mom will give you something else one of these days.
The problem with all these ways is that none of them help your mom know what you really want. You can do this by using the formula+
+ Say what happened: "Mom, I'm tired of tuna sandwiches."
+ How you feel about it: "I've had them so many times I hate them now."
+ What you need: "I need a break from tuna for awhile. Can I have bologna instead?"
SO REMEMBER We can say exactly what we mean and ask clearly for what we need.
"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15