Try to not use “I” statements in conversation. Practice selflessness.
So this can be taken a few different ways. When we argue with someone, for example a significant other, it is better to use “I” statements. “I” statements convey where a person stands on a topic, how they feel, etc. without “blaming” another.
Here is an example: “I want to try out couples counseling and see if we can compromise on some things.” instead of saying, “You always think you’re right. You’re so selfish.”
Using “I” statements this way can avoid blaming the other person, belittling them, or making them feel as if they need to defend themselves against something. If the other person feels threatened or defensive, they will either argue (fight) or they will withdraw, shutdown, and keep their opinions to themselves (flight). I started doing this during the last year of my relationship, but it won’t work if the other person isn’t willing to accept the change and grow with you.
What I actually mean with this prompt refers to having conversations with others. When you meet someone new, do you like it when they just talk about themselves and never ask how you’re doing? This is what I mean. Don’t talk about yourself so much. Inquire about the other person’s life and ask questions that generally interest you. A good start is “How was your weekend?” or “What’d you do on vacation?” or “How are your kids doing?” As an introvert who is unbelievably awkward in social situations, sometimes this is hard for me. In my mind, I feel intrusive and like I’m crossing some sort of line with the other person. I have to get out of that mind set. After all, if a person feels uncomfortable, all they have to do is say so and the topic can be changed. One thing that will immediately get me asking a bunch of questions is if your career or schooling involves criminal justice, neurology, or anything medical. You will get 1000 questions from me because I am genuinely curious about your knowledge and what I can potentially learn from you and the conversation.
You know, just try not to go off on tangents about yourself jumping from one subject to another to another. I need to practice this more, but I encourage everyone to think in this direction!