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  • Writer's pictureMary Gale Gurnsey

I statements; statements that begin with the word I

This is a common skill used in treatment of those seeking couples therapy, but why is it so important and how does it work?

Using I statements helps you take responsibility for your own feelings and improves communication so your partner doesn't need to guess how you are feeling.

This technique minimizes blaming that often leads the other person to become defensive. The situation may become escalated rather than promoting understanding, collaboration and connection between partners.

How to use an I statement is simple because it comes with an easy to use format;

I feel _______ when you ____ because_____.

This is much different from the more common use of you statements. Some examples of you statements you may be familiar with are as follows;

You make me angry because you are always late. OR

You never call you don’t even care.

When presented with this you statement those on the receiving end often feel attacked and ready to defend. Instead try using an I statement, for example;

I feel frustrated when you come home late because I stay awake worrying. OR

I feel hurt when you forget to call because it seems like you don’t care.

Can you see how making a simple change of the use of the word you to the word I can make a huge difference and soften the conversation increasing understanding between both people involved.

Can you think of some scenarios in your everyday life where you find yourself using a you statement? Feel free to email me at for advice on how to change those you statement into I statements and start seeing changes in communication in your relationship today!

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