Communication Skills 101

couple arguing

Couple Arguing by Ambro,

Communicating when you are angry, upset or frustrated can be very difficult. Our emotions sometimes get the best of us, and it is very easy for us to point fingers and lay blame on others.

For example, if you are angry at someone for not listening to you, it is tempting to yell out, “Quit ignoring me!” The person will take this as you are blaming them, and it will not end happily.

A little skill that you can try is called,”I-Messages” or “I-Statements.” There are four easy steps, and with practice, it can be done.

Start by getting the person’s attention in a kind way. That may mean tapping them, holding their arm, and asking them to look at you.

Step 1. “I feel…”

Use a feeling word to help the person understand how you are feeling.

Step 2. “When you…”

Describe what the behaviour is that is making you upset.

Step 3. “Because…”

Describe how the behaviour relates to your feelings.

Step 4. “And I’d like…”

State what you would like the person to do instead.

An example would be, “I feel ignored when you keep reading when I talk to you. Your reading shuts me out, and I’d like you to stop reading and look at me when I talk to you.”

This is a great technique that can be used any time.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW RSW
Specialist in Aging


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