In my work with couples and families, I like to encourage partners or family members to speak for themselves. One way I do this is having individuals say “I” instead of “We”. (Click here if you want more information on the theory behind this reasoning)
I practice this myself: I intentionally write and speak in first person. I found it hard at first, fearing I sounded selfish or egotistical.
However, I find getting to know “You and I” is easier when the two) have not melded into a safe sounding, ambiguous, “We”. As I personalize my speech I am able to enjoy one of the most gratifying parts of relationships: catching a glimpse of the other person’s uniqueness. As I hold on to the “you and I” language, that discovery of each other can happen even in the most familiar relationships. Such a little change…
I would like you to try this next language modification:
Instead of saying “we” say “you and I” or “_______and me”, or simply “I”.
If “we” slips out, claim a do over, “We agreed..wait… I said I wanted to eat out and you said ok.”
I think you’ll notice a difference right away. I’ve heard some people say that this small change in language gave them clarity, and appreciation for one another. I am aware that for some people saying “I” will feel risky and for some saying, “I” will feel surprisingly liberating.
I look forward to your comments and feedback.