With whom is this appropriate?

In any relationship: at work, as a couple, as a family...

Why do it this way?

This way of expressing things can prevent the situation from degenerating into conflict. It also allows you to respect yourself, to say what is important to you in a non-aggressive way, with respect for the other person as well. Moreover, by bringing understanding to the other person, we can prevent this from happening again if he or she is also convinced that it is negative. It can also allow him to evolve, to go beyond what seems inadequate to us.

How do we do that?

It's quite simple, let's take an example:

From time to time you go for a drink with a friend, who, when the bill arrives, systematically never has any money and somehow obliges you to pay for it. She never reimburses you to the point that you start to think that she is using you and that she is being dishonest with you!

A classic reaction in this kind of case is to tell him: you never carry money with you, you take advantage of me every time, you're dishonest.

However, she may feel hurt to see herself judged in this way by her friend, especially since for her, a drink is not a big deal, there is no need to make a big deal out of it, at least not to question her honesty... She may get angry, get angry, decide not to see you anymore, deny, or even start an escalation of the conflict by aggressively accusing you of something else (you always arrive late, p. ) and then justify her behaviour by not questioning herself at all.

Another reaction might be to summarily say to him: "I hope you'll have money to pay this time! "which is very direct and can be quite hurtful to the other person, who may have just not been paying attention until now.

So, how do we tell her so that she changes her behavior while keeping her friendship?

A simple and important thing to keep in mind is to speak in the first person singular (I) avoiding the "you", which is accusatory and judgmental, much more aggressive.

Then, just follow these four steps:

  1. Facts
  2. Feelings
  3. Values
  4. Request

Each phase is important because together they allow the expression of both objective (facts and demand) and subjective (feelings and values) reality. The objective reality allows us to place the exchange in the concrete, the subjective reality allows the other to understand us better.

1. First of all, express the facts, precise, unavoidable things. This allows you to start with a mutual agreement: in the example, everyone sees that the last 3 times, it is you who paid. This is undeniable, everyone agrees.

The last three times we went out for drinks, I paid the bill because you didn't have any money on you.

2. Expressing one's feelings (what one feels, what the facts give us as an emotion) allows the other person to understand the tone of voice (dry, cold, sad, etc.), as well as its importance for us. For example:

It disappoints and annoys me.

Examples of feelings: irritates me, worries me, makes me angry, irritates me, frightens me, makes me sad, makes me despair, depresses me, offends me, horrifies me, intimidates me, makes me hysterical, hurts me, annoys me, makes me cold, makes me angry, makes me angry, makes me dismayed, frustrates me, etc.

3. Then express a value in a positive way: what is generally important to oneself, without judgment. This allows for mutual rallying, as few people openly denigrate a value (respect is worthless, honesty is worthless...).

Honesty in friendship is important to me.

Examples of values: honesty, respect, wisdom, intelligence, harmony, consideration, commitment, will, rigour, order, perseverance, love, objectivity,organization, gentleness, freedom, good faith, courage, justice, communication, esteem, humility, tolerance, generosity, compassion, gratitude, security, friendship, openness, confidentiality, authenticity, self-sacrifice, kindness, truthfulness, consistency, professionalism, etc.

4. Then finally express his request. This goes beyond criticism, judgment or objection and allows for construction and action.

That's why I'd like you to plan in the future to carry money with you when we go out for drinks.

Recapitulation: stay as much as possible in the first person singular "I", then "facts - feelings - values - demand":

The last three times we went out for drinks, I paid the bill because you didn't have any money on you.
That disappoints and annoys me. Because for me, honesty in friendship is important.
That's why I would like you to plan in the future to carry money with you when we go out for a drink.

It can be good in awkward situations to reinforce it with an opening sentence like, "I'd like to talk to you about something important to me that may be awkward... "

Another example:

Your friend/husband (girlfriend/wife) always arrives late...

Classic reaction: I've been waiting for half an hour for you, it's systematic with you, who do you think I am?
It is aggressive, accusatory, the other risks to take a defensive attitude in the escape or the aggression in return... and he/she will be little motivated to listen, to see to change...

Or: it's the last time I'll wait this long for you, next time I won't be here...

We're getting into a threat and it's not specific. Besides, next time, are you really prepared to leave at the slightest delay? And what do you mean by late? A minute, ten, twenty, thirty? If you are not ready to leave at the slightest delay, the other will perceive that the threat is vain and will have little motivation to change... If you leave after a minute's delay to be consistent with what you have announced, the other may blame you for your lack of tolerance or flexibility. As a result, you put yourself in a difficult situation anyway.

Then, how to tell him/her so that he/she changes his/her behaviour while keeping a good understanding?

Just follow the four phases we have seen above: facts - feelings - values - demand.

  1. Facts: We had an appointment half an hour ago, and you're here now.
  2. Feelings: it irritates me a lot
  3. Value: because for me respect (consideration, attention to the other) is important.
  4. Ask: that's why I'm asking you from now on to arrive on time or tell me.

Another example:

Wash the dishes! As soon as there are several of us, rules (intrinsic (implied) or expressed) will be implemented: each person washes what he dirties, each one washes in turn, one person washes each time because it is the other one who makes the food, e.g.: "I'm not a dishwasher, I'm a dishwasher!
And now the person in charge of washing the dishes doesn't do it.

Classic reaction: You never wash the dishes when it's your turn to do so, do you think I'm your maid?
Direct reproach, accusatory, and the assumption that the interlocutor has bad thoughts about himself (that he is his "maid"). This is likely to put the interviewer in a defensive or even aggressive position, in any case of non-listening.

Or: Wash the dishes, it's up to you!
Direct order, very dry, which can be considered aggressive or denigrating (I give you an order, I consider myself superior to you!).

How to tell him/her to change his/her behaviour in a sustainable way while keeping a good understanding?

Again: the four phases: facts - feelings - values - demand

Facts: It was agreed that it was you who washed the dishes and they are dirty.
Feelings: it makes me angry
Value: because for me commitment, (taking responsibility, respect, consideration) is important.
Ask: that's why I'm asking you to wash the dishes now.

Any questions, any difficulties? Do not hesitate to contact me

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