led by Dr. Lyle Becourtney, licensed psychologist: (917) 968-0965

Eliminating You Messages

"Eliminating YOU Messages"
by Ron Huxley
Anger Thought: "You need to change!" Did that sentence feel good? Probably not. No one likes to have the "finger or blame" pointed at them. When a sentence starts off with the word "you" it creates a defensiveness in the other person that rarely results in the desired change. Change is much more likely if a sentence starts off with "I" instead of "You." For example: "I need to have this room cleaned up" or "I am frustrated that the report was not turned in on time." Using "I" messages versus "You" messages decreases defensiveness in the other person and allows us to own our own thoughts and feelings about a situation. A child may not care if the room is ever cleaned up. An employee may have no problems with a late report. They don't own the problem but they may need to make a change for a problem that you own.

Anger Action Plan: Before confronting another person about a problem you are having with them, stop and think about how you will phrase that issue. Start your sentence with the word "I." Follow it with a feeling word or action step. Don't sneak the "You" word in there. For example, saying: "I need YOU to take care of this room" is a disguised "You" sentence. Instead say: "I am upset that this room is not cleaned up by now. Please take care of it by 6 p.m. or the consequence will be not going out tonight." It may take some practice eliminating the "You" messages but doing so will dramatically improve your ability to get things changed!


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