Nonviolent communication for problem solving

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It’s normal to have disagreements and conflicts in a relationship from time to time. And when we feel disappointed, hurt, or angry, it’s very hard to talk things over calmly! To solve problems, nonviolent communication can help you express yourself without hurting the other person

Find the right place


To discuss an awkward topic, choose a time when you’re alone and a quiet place where no one will disturb you. Be sure that it’s a good time, for example by asking if the other person is ready to talk.


Start by talking about a fact


Talk about a fact or an event that anyone could have observed. For example, you might say, “You went to the movies with your friends when you’d told me we could spend the evening together,” instead of “You didn’t really want to see me” or “Your friends are more important to you than I am.”


Talk about yourself and your own emotions


Use “I” and talk about what you yourself are experiencing. In that way, you avoid accusing the other person and causing him/her to close up. For example, you might say, “I’m disappointed when we don’t see each other” instead of “You let me down this weekend again!”


Explain why your need is important


Tell the other person the reasons why this need is important to you. For example, you might say, “I need to spend time with you” instead of “I need you to come and see me more often.”


Make a concrete, negotiable request


Make a suggestion that is both concrete and negotiable to find a solution that suits both of you. For example, you might suggest, “What would you think about getting together two evenings a week?” instead of “Stop spending so much time with your friends!”



When we talk about something that’s important to us, it’s not always easy to find the right words and the right tone. If you like, before talking to the other person, practise what you want to say aloud. When the discussion starts, it’ll be much easier to tell him/her what you feel.


Don’t try to guess how the other person will react. When you use nonviolent communication, you’ll probably get some nice surprises!