The following information is a section taken from the page "Communication Skills Parts 1".
"I messages" are the opposite of "you messages". "I messages" help you to be heard, understood, and responded to. "I messages" need to be clear. An "I message" is a statement about what is happening for you, what you think, how you feel, what you want, and so on. By making and "I message", you are taking responsibility for letting another know your wishes, wants, experiences, and expectations.
"You messages" are usually statements about the person being spoken to. "You messages" are often judgments, evaluations, or accusations. "You messages" usually trigger defensiveness and get in the way of healthy communication. They provoke the other person to argue with you before listening to you. When in a disagreement, DO NOT use "you messages".
Examples of "You Messages", changed to "I messages":
- "You never make enough time to talk." --- "I need some time to talk about ..."
- "You should care more about ....." --- "I'm concerned about... Do you care about this too? I feel alone."
- "You aren't cooperating" --- "I feel alone. Can we talk about cooperating more?"
- "You don't make me a priority" --- "I feel hurt; I don't feel like I am a priority."
- "You are selfish to travel so much." --- "I am afraid I am loosing you when you are gone so much."
"Everybody Messages" also get in the way of healthy communication. They are usually vague generalizations. Using them is an avoidance of being open and direct.
- Examples: "Everybody feels that..." "Anybody knows it is not good to..." "It is impossible for anybody to..."
Reasons people are tempted to use "you messages":
- "I messages" feel too vulnerable
- fear one's message will be ignored
- expectation the other person knows the information, without telling them
- expecting to be taken care of, and of having someone else meet needs that are not their responsibility
- believing expression of one's request is selfish
- believing unclear expression of a request will avoid disappointment or criticism