Simply state what happened – objectively and without judgement!
Express your feelings – say what upsets you!
Express your needs – say what is essential for you!
Make a request – say what you expect from the other person!
In a good friendship, your friend will most likely already have thought about some possible solutions after step 3. However, this last step brings much more clarity to a disagreement. When one person says what he or she would like the other person to do, this other person can say whether they agree, that means, whether they are ready to do this, or they can make their own suggestions and a compromise can be found. Either way: We make sure that everyone gets heard – and not hurt.
What and How?
Making a request implies that you know exactly how you imagine a possible solution. It means that you have already thought about it beforehand, and you are not just making stuff up on the go.
On the other hand, you want to be clear. It doesn’t help anybody if you waffle and waver around the topic. Say what you need to say – this will make it easier to do it in all due respect.
Example: Expressing a request
“Janine, you’ve been texting Tina since we met. I’m pretty annoyed by this! I was looking forward to spending time with you, but I need you to be with me, not just with her. Would you be willing to put your phone away, just for this afternoon?“
Useful vocabulary and phrases
There are different ways to express wishes, depending on the wish itself and the relationship between the two speakers. Here are some examples.
Expressing a request
- Would you be willing to… / Could you imagine putting your phone away?
- I wish you could … .
- Please speak a bit more quietly / act … .
- I’d like you to… .
- I want you to … . Is that okay with you?
- If only we could… .
Revision: I wish you were...
- I wish you were a bit more attentive to what I say.
What are the requests your person has for the other person in connection with his or her observations, feelings and needs?