Assertiveness Skills: Step Three
3. Use “I" Messages
When you start a sentence with “You...”, it comes off as a judgment or an attack and puts people on the defensive. If you start with “I,” the focus is more on how you are feeling and how you are affected by their behavior.
Also, it shows more ownership of your reactions and less blame. This helps minimize defensiveness in the other person, model the act of taking responsibility, and move you both toward positive change.5 For example:
You Message: “You need to stop that!”
I Message: “I’d like it if you’d stop that.”
When in a discussion, don’t forget to listen and ask questions. It’s important to understand the other person’s point of view.