In every relationship, there will be times when we’re upset with our partner. It’s inevitable. What we say during these moments can either make the situation better or make it worse. Words like “always” and “never” usually do not effectively communicate what you are trying to say. They can often lead to more arguments instead of resolving the original conflict.
When we use the word “always” and “never,” we’re usually making a generalization about our partner’s behavior. For example, let’s say your partner didn’t help with the dishes last night even though you asked them to. You might say something like, “You never help around the house!” This type of statement can make it seem like you’re attacking the other person making them less open to hearing what you have to say. They may become defensive and start listing all the times they have helped around the house. The situation may quickly escalate to conflict as each person tries to prove that they’re right and the other is wrong.
The same can be said for the word “always.” Using this word implies that our partner is never willing to compromise or meet us halfway. Let’s say you’ve been arguing with your partner about something minor. In the heat of the moment, you tell them, “You always start arguments with me!”. Your partner will likely feel defensive and accused, even if they don’t always start arguments with you. In this case, using the word “always” has only worsened the situation.
How to avoid using these words in your conversations with your partner…
So how can we avoid using these words in our relationship? One way is to be more mindful of our language. Instead of using absolutes, try rephrasing your sentence in a way to get the desired outcome. Instead of saying, “You never help around the house,” you could say, “It would really help me if you would wash dishes after dinner.” This not only avoids making an accusation, but it also communicates what you want without putting your partner on the defensive.
Alternatively, try using “I” statements. Instead of saying, “You always start arguments with me every day,” try saying, “I feel like we are arguing often.” This avoids making a generalization about our partner’s behavior and communicates our feelings more effectively. It speaks your needs in a way that is more likely to lead to a productive conversation. Remember to be aware of your tone of voice. When you are speaking, try to avoid sounding judgmental or confrontational. Instead, try to sound understanding and supportive. It’s important to remember that no one is always right or always wrong. We all make mistakes sometimes, and that’s okay.
In conclusion, it’s important to be mindful of the words you use when communicating with your partner. When we communicate effectively with our partner, we can resolve conflicts in a more constructive way. We can also build a stronger and more trusting relationship with our partner. If you find yourself using words like “always” or “never,” try to take a step back and see if there might be a better way to express what you’re trying to say. Chances are, there is.