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Four Magic Words In A Relationship!

| Updated: November 26, 2021 20:19

Being a Coach teaches you a lot about human nature.

Clients often ask me how they should tell someone something. 

The formula we usually come up with is: 

take a breath, open your mouth and … say it!

Even if two people agree to disagree, half of the problem can be resolved if people just feel heard.

Clients often share intimate things about their life partners.

Sometimes within five minutes of meeting me for the first time!

After sharing, they ask me what they should do, and I usually respond by asking;

“Have you told them what you’ve just shared with me?”

9 times out of 10 they haven’t, and I gently remind them that most people aren’t mind readers!

When we feel hurt, it’s natural to become defensive and blame the other person.

But this makes the situation worse because we are targeting the person rather than the problem.

We often fall into this habit with the people we are closest to – our lovers and children.

But when you are feeling hurt, how do you communicate this in a way that doesn’t insult the other person and create more confrontation? 

Can you convey your feelings without the other person feeling you are “getting at” them?

Remember when Mom told you there was one magic word? 

Well there are four more …

1. Feel

2. You 

3. When

4. I

They don’t sound like much do they? 

But when we change the order, they create a phrase which will quiet the angriest temper and soothe the most upset soul!

“When you … I feel …” 

Can you dig the magic? 

Check out the difference between:

“You are totally inconsiderate! You make me so angry!” 

and …

“When you don’t call me to tell me you will be late, I feel like you don’t care.”

By shouting, “You are totally inconsiderate! You make me so angry!” the other person will get defensive and try to justify themselves.

But by saying, “When you don’t call me to tell me you will be late, I feel like you don’t care.” you have made the distinction between who they are and what they have done. 

You are talking about the behavior – not showing appreciation – rather than condemning the person. 

Because it’s what they have done that has caused you hurt, not who they are.

You are also reclaiming your power and taking responsibility for your feelings, by saying; 

“I feel …” rather than “You make me …”

Here are some more examples;

“You are a boofhead and you make me angry!”

becomes …

“When you don’t make time for me, I feel unloved.”

“You are so selfish you make me sick.”

sounds better as …

“When you didn’t text me back, I felt like you didn’t care about me.”

“When you don’t show me appreciation … I feel hurt.”

You are reclaiming your power and taking responsibility for your feelings by saying “I feel” rather than “You make me feel…”

You are also talking about the behavior – the not showing appreciation – rather than condemning the person.

Get the idea?

Also remember what’s underneath will be hurt feelings.

It’s not just what they did, but how you felt.

So now you know the magic formula, go forth, communicate your feelings effectively and enjoy great relationships!

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  1. Shubha

    Loved it, well said to the point. What resonated with me was the bit where you said, taking responsibility of our own feeling instead of blaming others..!

  2. Anita

    Very useful emotionak communication syntax.Most often either we start enjoying the victim space we are in and dont take charge to seek solution and keep seeking sympathy from others Or are so clouded by our perceptions that fail to communicate without blame and judgement. This method will surely help. Thankyou.

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