Larry James' BLOG

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Say What You Need to Say!

“You’re not listening to me!” Heard that before?

Communication is not optional. You can’t not communicate. Everything you say and do or don’t say and don’t do sends a message to your partner. The key to successful conflict resolution is communication. You must consistently communicate with your partner.

Sometimes it not easy. Choose your words carefully and say them anyway!

Most people assume they know how to communicate effectively. Even though they have poor listening skills and often use manipulation, yelling, silence, threats, or blaming in order to try and be heard. How is that working for you?

When voicing your feelings, say “When you (fill in the blank) I feel (fill in the blank).” Example: “When you scream and holler at me, I don’t feel loved.” Saying it this way addresses the behavior and not the person. Never say “you make me feel” statements because only causes them to become defensive. As a matter of fact, “you make me feel” is not true. No one can make you feel any way. You are the one who chooses to feel the way you feel. I know that is a hard fact to swallow, but it’s true whether you believe it or not.

Facial expressions reflect how you’re affected by the other person’s message. Avoid rolling your eyes, sneering, or shaking your head as these behaviors tend to shut the other person down. That pretty much shuts down the conversation.

Withheld communication can drive a wedge between partners. You must say what you need to say whether is feels like your partner is listening or not. NEVER withhold communication that needs to be said.

Here’s what can happen. One day, he doesn’t take out the garbage and you want a divorce and it’s not really about the garbage. It’s about all the things you should have talked about but didn’t.

Choose the right moment and the right place. Turn off the TV, Cell phone, etc. Clarify your ideas in your mind before you speak. Don’t bring up superfluous stuff. Do not speak in generalizations. Get to the ‘heart’ of your message quickly. Stay on-topic. Speak in a calm voice, be brave, and say what you need to say. How you say something relates your true feelings. Make eye contact with your partner. Listen to their response. We often forget that for there to be effective communication listening is as important as talking. It’s a two-way deal.

If your partner moves away, don’t follow them out of the room to finish the conversation. If they feel the need for space, allow it. Let them know you are okay with that and request that you both return to takj about it when you are more calm. Be cautious not to say words that you may regret later. It’s much better to postpone the conversation than to say something in anger.

If youy are the one who hasn’t really been paying attention to what your partner is saying. . . shame on you! Put the iPod or the TV remote aside and really listen.

If you are the one who isn’t being heard by your partner when you talk. . . write him/her a carefully worded letter and mail it to him/her at home or at him/her office. I stress carefully worded. If you need help scripting your words, take some time with it or call a coach. Use the words (see the example above) that will help you express how this behavior causes you to feel and always close with how much you love him/her, etc.

not listeningThe lyrics to “Say” by John Mayer:

Take all of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all of your so-called problems,
Better put ’em in quotations

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead,
If you could only . . .

Say what you need to say

Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You’d better know that in the end
Its better to say too much
Then never say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open

“If we discovered that we had only five minutes left to say all that we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they loved them.” – Christopher Morley

Say what you need to say!

Lyrics Copyright © 2010 by John Mayer

Bonus Article: Read, “Communicating is Not Optional” and “Weigh Your Words.”


Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – and

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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  1. […] reason to stop and do nothing. Keep moving forward. Don’t back off in the curves. Speak up. Say what you need to say and talk about it in the most loving way you […]

    Pingback by Don’t Back Off in the Curves « Larry James’ BLOG — Saturday, March 6, 2010 @ 6:04 am | Reply

  2. […] Say What You Need to Say! Filed under: Relationships — Larry James @ 3:19 pm Tags: communications, conflict resolution, effective communication, listen, listening, speak up, talking […]

    Pingback by Relationships — Larry James - Amazing Wedding & Event Planning 480.488.2900 — Saturday, February 6, 2010 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  3. It’s weird how much we give away without realising, this is both interesting and helpful 🙂

    Comment by loveandcoco — Saturday, February 6, 2010 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

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