How would you feel if someone was constantly blaming you for everything? If every time something wrong someone would say “you didn’t do this!” or “why didn’t you do that?” That would be bothersome, wouldn’t it? Well with this I vs. You experiment I will try to redirect any “you” statements that I may make and turn them into “I” statements. I believe that extended “I” language helps you take responsibility for your own actions, and may lessen conflict between you and another person when there is an issue.
Yesterday I had one of my long days at school with my classes running from 7:45am to 12:15pm, and then had to go to work right after. After I get home from work, I typically spend at least two to three hours on school work until I go to bed. These days are usually very tiring for me, so I need some help with household chores. Earlier in the day I asked my boyfriend if he could do the dishes for me. When I got to my house at around 5:00pm, I arrived to a sink full of dishes and a dirty kitchen while he was just sitting in the living room. It was really upsetting to me that he didn’t listen. I wanted to say something like “Weren’t you supposed to do the dishes day?” or “Why haven’t you cleaned the kitchen?” but I stopped myself, and thought about what I was going to say first. I took this opportunity to turn my “you” statement into an “I” statement. I said to him “I am really tired from school and work today and have homework to do. I asked you to do the dishes this morning, is there any way you could still help me with that?”. He didn’t get as defensive as I think he would if I would have made it a “you” statement. He offered me an apology for not cleaning, and then proceeded to help me out with it. I feel like communicating this way really lessons any conflict that may arise from the given situation.
Words and how you use them definitely play a huge factor in how your communication will affect a situation. If you blame someone for an issue, they are probably going to get defensive. If you try and understand what the issue is and ask questions in a non-threatening manner, chances are they will respond more positively to the situation.
Although words do play a huge factor, your nonverbal communication does as well. Your facial expressions, gestures, body language, and your speech rate and tone are all forms of nonverbal communication, and can greatly impact how someone perceives you and reacts to what you are communicating.
Over the past couple of days I have really been trying to examine my nonverbal communication and how it plays a role in my communication. One big thing that I noticed is how I do not like to make eye contact with others. This is more-so with co-workers, strangers, and acquaintances. Although I still don’t really like making eye contact a lot, it’s a lot easier with someone you are closer to like friends and family.
Another thing I took notice in is my proxemics. I tend to distance myself from others because it makes me feel uncomfortable when people are in my personal space, or intimate space. This is just how I have always been. I like to keep a bit of a distance between myself and others.
Lastly, something else I observed about my nonverbal communication is my affect displays. One thing in particular I noticed was my facial expressions. I noticed that it may not actually reflect how I am feeling or what I am trying to communicate. I had a co-worker ask me the other day why I always “look at her weird”. I’m really not trying to do that on purpose, I guess it’s just a default facial expression of mine. I can see how that would skew someone’s idea of what I am trying to communicate to them.
I think you can communicate tender loving care in many ways non-verbally. Through your actions you can show that you care, without even saying a word. Even something just as simple as a smile, or placing your hand on someone’s shoulder while listening to them can show that you are loving and that you care.
In conclusion, I have learn that both your verbal and nonverbal communication play a big role in your interpersonal communication. Both of these forms of communication have different affects on how others perceive you, react to you, and they communicate back to you. Trying to be more conscious of these things can help make communicating easier, can help you understand others, and may lessen conflict in everyday life.
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