6. Use “I” statements to respond.
No matter how attacked you feel, do not attack back. Good communication during times of conflict hinges upon using “I” statements instead of “you” statements. For instance, if your critic has made you feel badly about yourself you can respond with an “I” statement such as, “I’ve heard what you said and I have to be honest and let you know that while I understand what you mean, I can’t help but feel hurt by it,” or you can use a “you” statement such as, “You know, you’re really mean and critical and everyone is sick of it.” Both convey basically the same information, but only the former invites continued healthy dialogue. The latter approach shuts everything down.