- Respectfully share what you want to say.
- Use “I” statements.
- Pause – so Receiver can mirror. If your partner does not mirror, ask them to do so in a non-demanding manner. “Could you please let me know the gist of what you have heard?”
- Accept/ correct the mirroring, as needed. “That’s not quite it.”
- Stay focused. Stick to your topic and make it only one topic per dialogue!
- Keep sharing until you’ve said it all.
Statement of Intentionality
- Begin with an introductory statement that helps your partner feel safe about “what” and “how” you are going to send. “I want you to know that I am sharing this with you because I care about our relationship.” Or, “I want this to be a win-win discussion.”
- If you like the way your partner mirrors what you have said, SAY SO! “Thank you for hearing me. It really helped.”
Use “I” statements
- “I” statements are those that begin with the word “I” and describe how you feel and /or need or desire. References to others are made without judgment and/or attribution of motive.
- “I” statements reduce the blaming caused by “you” statements. (”You don’t care about my feelings . . .” “You make me . . .”) ”When you interrupt me, I feel disrespected and dismissed.” Or, “When you don’t call, I start to get scared and angry . . .”
- Note: “I think that you . . .”, does not qualify as an “I” statement.
Select your words carefully
- It is inflammatory to blame, label, mind-read or use absolutes (e.g., ”you always” and “you never”).
- It is quite acceptable to say: “I feel unloved when you don’t talk to me”.
- It is NOT acceptable to say: “You never talk to me because you are selfish and do not love me.”
Maintain non-threatening, non-accusatory tone of voice and body language
- If your voice is angry, your partner will have no choice but to put up their defenses and they will have a difficult time mirroring. If you cannot remove the anger, it is not a good time to ask for a dialogue. Wait until you are more calm.