Communication is a healthy part of a relationship, but it can be very complicated. Communication is something we can all improve on, especially if the situation is difficult. Sometimes we may mishear things and get the wrong end of the stick. Misunderstandings can lead to confusion, hurt and anger.
When you are communicating with someone, make sure you are clear about what you want to communicate. It is important that the person hears your message accurately and understands what you mean. At the same time, think about the other person and what they may be feeling.
In a stressed situation, you may want to consider ‘I’ statements. These statements can take away the sense of blame or criticism. In each case, you say ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ or ‘they’. If you say ‘you’ it can come across as blaming the person.
Here are some examples:
- Instead of saying: “You always shout at me when I am late.”
- You can say: “I feel hurt when you criticise me for running late and I would appreciate it if you first asked me why I was late.”
- Instead of saying: “Why didn’t you answer my text?”
- You can say: “I was upset when you didn’t answer my text because I worried about you. Maybe next time can you let me know where you are?”
- Instead of saying: “You never want to help them.”
- You can say: “I am sad that you decided not to help them.”
Avoid saying things like “I feel like you…” because it sounds like blaming. You can start by practising ‘I’ statements when they relate to positive things.
Like most things in life, communication takes practice.
Mensline Australia’s Changing for Good program welcomes new participants. Men who have completed a men’s behaviour change program and want to get extra support in their efforts at change, can self-refer. Just call 1300 015 120 and leave a message with your name and contact details and one of the team will follow up with you.