Use gentler words for productive discussions.

Softer, gentle language is better received by others. You can get the same message across with a softer tone.
The conversation stays focused on the topic and doesn’t get argumentative because of unfortunate choice of words.

  • Use ‘I statements’. “When _____, I feel ______”
  • Choose words that foster collaboration rather than defensiveness or defiance. “How might we address this?”
  • No blaming, judging or belittling.
  • Avoid complaints and nagging.
  • Don’t bring up a litany of past grievances.
  • Describe the situation as objectively as possible.
  • Avoid absolute words like “You never…” “It is always me who does …”
  • Choose words that allow your spouse to clarify with dignity. “This is how I see it. How do you see it?” “Am I getting this right?” “Please help me understand how you see it.”

It is especially important to start your discussions about important and possibly contentious topics with a soft startup. And then stick to those softer ways of presenting your position.

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