The way in which we talk can mark the difference between a successful relationship and a failing one. If we pay attention to the words we use and how we use them, we stand more chance of getting over difficulties, loving and feeling loved.
The page “I & You Language” looks at the use of “I” and “You” with your partner. This page looks at the use of “We”.
Try to use “I” instead of “we”:
|We adore each other||I adore you|
|We get everything wrong||I get upset when we fight|
|We are good at resolving conflict||I feel proud of my part in resolving conflict|
|We want to buy a home||I need and want security (and am frightened I won’t get it)|
|We always love each other||I love you (and am a bit frightened you don’t love me so much!)|
Some we language indicates fear. The last two above are not honest and show how We Language sometimes disguises fears. We language can also be controlling and manipulative like this.
We language often denies that we can be different and love each other. “We were deeply in love in Paris” assumes we had the same feelings and thoughts – when your love in Paris was about feeling trusted and secure and my love was more about feeling liberated and sexy. This kind of mindless use of we language obstructs appreciation and acceptance of our differences.
We language is confusing because it is polluted by ‘my opinion of you’; the word we includes you. In effect it is ‘how I think we both are’ or ‘how I want us to be’ or saying what I think you want to hear. If the person listening disagrees in any way, they may be instantly triggered into either arguing or withdrawing. Hence we language interferes with listening. If you want to be listened to understood properly, take a risk, reveal who you are and use I language.
With thanks to I and Thou by M Buber,
Games People Play by E Berne,
Women Who Love Too Much by R Norwood.
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