Step 1: Observing
Simply state what happened – objectively and without judgement!
Stating what happened is really important for the following reasons:
- It helps you to distance yourself and to make sure you see things as they really were – without your emotions getting into the way.
- It helps the other person to know what situation it is that really bothers you.
- It helps both of you to compare your perspectives on the events that happened, and to make sure that each of you knows the full story.
What and How?
Something that is truly objective is free of any personal interpretation. You simply describe what happened.
Example: Objective description
“You know Frank, last Thursday you took my red dress out of my closet again without asking me. This was the third time this month!”
Revision: Past tenses
Just a quick reminder that…
- we use the past simple when speaking about dates in the past – or any events that finished in the past. (“Last Thursday you took my red dress!”)
- we use the present perfect when speaking about events that have an impact on the present tense. (“This has happened three times until now!”)
- we use the present tense when speaking about current things. (“I see you are still at home. Why are you not at school right now?”)
Useful vocabulary and phrases
- Last Wednesday I noticed that…
- When we … , I could see that…
- In the restaurant / At the party / On the bus, you mentioned that…
- When we were together, you said that…
- You have interrupted me … times so far.
- Again you told me we could meet – and cancelled last minute.
- We haven’t seen each other for at least … months / years / … .
What’s bothering your person? Think of situations that he or she could describe – and practise describing them as objectively as possible!