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Where Social Skills Means Building Relationships

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Say "I" when "You" fight

Fighting is inevitable within any relationship, but it does not have to be a negative or a destructive experience.  If both parties are fighting to improve the relationship and the situation rather then wanting to “be right” or to “win”, a lot of good can come from a confrontation. 

How language is used is important to not only being productive, but also to be caring and loving.  Wayne Misner (Men Don’t Listen) argues that ’I’ statements are not as offensive when you’re trying to be understood”.  After all, what is the goal of your fights?  What are you hoping will change? What are you fighting about?

Phrases that can be useful includes:  I notice, I assume, I wonder, I suspect, I believe, I resent, I am puzzled, I am hurt, I regret, I am afraid, I am frustrated, I am happier, I want, I expect, I appreciate, I realize, I hope 

If you are not used to using “I” phrases in your fights, this list might seem a little overwhelming.  Wayne Misner suggests using “I hope” first, but most importantly leave the “you” out of it.

Good luck in your next fight, and may the both of you be understood and both of you win.