What are “I Statements”

When people are having intense feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness, they tend to want to tell the other person what the other person is doing wrong.  My suggestion is to talk from the heart.  Talk about what YOU are feeling, not what the other person is doing.  If both people are wanting to improve communication, try this technique:


1st person: I feel _________ when ______________. (see below for example)
2nd person: I heard you say (repeat exactly what the 1st person said).
1st person: (tell the 2nd person if they repeated what you said correctly. If not, say it again
and start over).

NOW it is the 2nd persons turn to either respond to how they feel about this situation or a different situation.

1st person: I feel _(frustrated)__ when __(the house is messy)__.
2nd person: I heard you say (you don’t like the house messy).
1st person: (yes, that is what I said).
Example of what is NOT an I statement:
I feel frustrated when you don’t clean the house.

This is a YOU statement. A YOU statement tells what the other person did wrong.
An I statement tells what action you don’t like. A YOU statement tends to place blame.

If you are looking for individual therapy or relationship therapy in Long Beach, please give me a call to ask me a question or to set up an appointment.

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