Quotes from the article How to tell difficult truths people want to hear,
If I say to you, “My stomach feels queasy,” you’d have a difficult time arguing with me. If I say to you, “You make me sick to my stomach,” you’d probably find plenty to argue with me about in that sentence. The difference is intention. If I say, “My stomach feels queasy,” my intention is to reveal my inner experience. If I say, “You make me sick to my stomach,” my intention is to blame you for my experience. In speaking difficult truths so that people thank you afterwards, the trick is to reveal your inner experience and stay out of blame.
Breakthroughs in relationship communication are always brought about by saying unarguable things and never by blaming. It’s possible to communicate the most difficult truths in this new way, so that people are literally filled with gratitude afterwards.
Let’s say you want to break up with your lover. Your main complaints are that he never helps around the house, he has a perfect record of forgetting your birthday and he is unwilling to make a long-term commitment to the relationship.
Scenario One: You say to him: I’m leaving you because you’re lazy, disrespectful and commitment-phobic. Would he be likely to thank you for sharing this “truth” with him? Probably not. He’d probably argue with all three of your labels for him. You’ve provided him with a perfect way to avoid learning anything from your communication, because you’ve communicated it in arguable terms.
Scenario Two: You say to him: For a long time I’ve been feeling sad and disappointed. I can feel it right now in my chest, and I can hear it in my voice. I don’t think I’m getting what I want in our relationship. I feel angry a lot at you, and although I feel scared about being by myself, I think I’d rather face that fear than continue to feel what I’ve been experiencing the past year.
There’s no guarantee he’ll thank you for speaking those truths, but we can give you a pretty solid guarantee that he won’t argue with you. We know, because we’ve coached hundreds of people to speak like that in sessions, and it stops arguments cold.