Effective communication words

(Taken from here)

1. BUT  The word but, at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence, deletes whatever came before.  It’s like a subtraction sign. “But that’s so…” or “I’d be glad to try but…”  or “Yes, but….” or “I agree with your point but…..”

Instead train yourself to use and or and at the same time.


2.  NOT The word not, including in contraction form, is a downer.  The more nots you use, the more negative you sound.  “I’m not going with you.”  versus, “I’m staying home today.”

Instead of saying what you do not think, feel, or want, say what you do think feel or want.  Instead of “I don’t want to..”, use I would like to…”


3.  YOU as the first word in a sentence.  Any and all comments to a spouse or partner saying what I think you think, feel, or could do will sound bossy and/or invasive.  I refer to you-statements  as “crossovers” because they cross the boundary between self and other.  Invading someone else’s territory is provocative.  You-statements create negative energy and push people away. “You believe that I’m….”  Or “You just feel mad because ….”  Or “You need to go tell them …”

Instead, use I-statements, sentences that start with I.  “I think that… “, “I feel ….” , “I would like to ..”  orMy concern is….”

After sharing your own thoughts, ask about the other person’s.  Good questions begin with How or What. “What’s your view on that?” or  “How do you feel about …?”


4. SHOULD  Should takes away the option of choice.  It also makes options feel burdensome.  Change shoulds to coulds.

I should have told him that…..  versus “I could have told him that … “

“I should get up early tomorrow because I want to exercise.”  Versus “I could get up early tomorrow because I want to exercise….and at the same time (notice, no but) I think I would rather…..”


5. MAKES ME FEEL “Makes me feel” sentences create a sense of victimhood.

It makes me feel terrible when you….” versus, “I feel terrible when ….”

You make me feel irritated when you….” versus “I feel irritated when you…”

One thought on “Effective communication words

  1. revertnow says:

    Nice easy pointers. Thanks for sharing!

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