Communication

“AND Statements” vs. “BUT Statements”

But Negates…

Conjunctions are words used in English grammar to connect two concepts together. (Examples: and, but, if, or).  When included in a sentence, the conjunction “but” excludes, denies & negates stated before it.   For example, my son’s third grade teacher sent home a project for all parents at the conclusion of the school year.  We were to complete the sentences on a “Certificate of Hard Work”.  After answering questions on what we loved and appreciated about our kids, we were to complete a “but statement”.  This but statement said: “I’m so proud when ________ does this, BUT would like it if he/she would ________”.  Since my son is so sensitive and eager to please, I had to be careful in how I worded this statement.  I responded to it in the following manner:

“I’m so proud Talan works hard BUT wish he wouldn’t worry so much about doing his best.”

And – Equal Consideration….

imageWhen using AND in a sentence, you’re connecting to ideas together that have equal importance.  The AND functions to expand on an idea, while giving the original one equal consideration.   For example, in the above sentence I could say it this way instead:

“I’m so proud of Talan for working so hard AND don’t think he needs to worry about doing better.”

Why does this matter?

(((As a side-note, I’m blogging about my internship group therapy material, because I feel it is important for me to reflect on these insights as well.)))  As it pertains to the the subject matter of this blog, it is worth noting the effect these two statements have on the listener.  “AND” statements acknowledge the other person’s perspective and implies we give it equal consideration to our own.  In contrast, when using a “BUT” statements, we are giving lesser value to the other person’s perspective.  In fact, depending on the manner of delivery, “BUT” statements can sound like you’re trying to start an argument….

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“I message” vs. “you messages”

Oftentimes it is essential for us to share our concerns about a situation or another person.  A failure to carefully our words, can sometimes result in a gross misunderstanding…..

YOU MESSAGE:  “You’re giving me a headache, turn that down!”

I MESSAGE: “I don’t like all this noise since I’m trying to sleep, can you turn down the volume.”

“YOU Messages”….

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You messages communicate implicit messages of blame and fault attribution.  The cause is the other person.  Your goal in using the “YOU Message” is to communicate this fact clearly.  As a result, the listener becomes defensive.  Additionally, the recipient often feels “YOU Messages” as unnecessarily harsh.   For this reason, often create communication roadblocks.

“I Messages”…

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In contrast, when using I messages your goal is to focus on feelings and behavior.  You’re starting off with a desire to open up communication, by telling the listener how you feel.  This can then lead to a request for a behavioral change and/or remedy to address our feelings.  In this respect, they tend to yield a more positive response and feel more honest and kind….

How To Create an I Message:

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