Self Help

I Care Statements

Having a bit of hesitation on how to navigate those somewhat tense situations?  Figuring out how to delicately communicate your frustrated or disappointed feelings without tearing down a relationship that you care about can be hard.

Understanding your feelings and then accepting responsibility for them is one of the most important communication skills you can acquire.  Caring about a long-term relationship requires nurturing efforts.  Thinking and planning ahead about the desired outcome of the conversation is important.  One of the goals is for both people in the conversation to stay whole emotionally after talking about the problem behaviors/habits that are diminishing your positive feelings towards them.

Try this formula:
  • When you…
  • I feel..
  • Because…
  • Therefore/So
Let’s use a couple of examples:
  • When you wait until the last minute to leave when giving me a ride to my doctor’s appointment, I get concerned about arriving late.  Because I care about our relationship, I don’t want to say anything to indicate I’m not appreciative for your support.  So, I’m asking you to schedule our travel time earlier.  Thank you for listening to my concerns.

  • When you leave your coat and books by the front door instead of putting them away, I feel that you don’t respect the house rules we’ve all agreed on.  Therefore, if I find your personal items left there for a prolonged time, I will store them for you.  They will cost $1 each to have them returned.  If you need extra cash to have your items back, there is a list of chores on the fridge and how much I am willing to pay for you to do them.  Thank you for listening to my concerns.
Walking through the conversation beforehand will keep you on track for being able to maintain your dignity and communicate your feelings.  You may also discover there are reasons that explain the other person’s distracting behavior.

  • Start by asking, “Do you have a minute to talk with me?” 
  • Find a convenient time to talk.  Simply state the fact, i.e., when you leave the books, without adding emotionally charged words like “always” or “usually.”  The conversation should be brief and only cover one concern. 
  • End with a polite “thank you” to keep the conversation on a positive note.
Similar articles online about “I Statements” can help to get your creative juices flowing on how to navigate tense moments in relationships.

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