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Do not imply judgment

Saying anything with implied judgment, even if it’s not a direct statement, is a wonderful way to get more of that behavior. E.g. “I feel like I’m living with a wall” is a self-fulfilling prophecy because the other person will feel attacked and criticized, and react with more (not less) of the behavior that is being pointed out. If you really want the opposite kind of behavior, it’s important to understand what is causing the behavior you wanted to point out in the first place.

Similarly, saying something like “I’m annoyed you forgot the butter and onions I asked you to pick up for dinner” will often be received as if trying to make the other person feel guilty. It’s OK to feel annoyed, but don’t judge. Follow up with a willingness request, like this: “I’m annoyed that we don’t have the butter and onions we need for dinner. Would you be willing to go back to the store and get them?”