Just read it. In that article, the author talked about how the entire conversation was full of emotionally charged words. It’s clear that it was an accident and that both partners misunderstood each other. Unfortunately, avoiding the word “you” wouldn’t have changed this. The whole premise of that article is valid — people don’t always hear what you say, so you need to choose your words carefully. I agree with that. But if this had been a more serious issue, where one partner did something that really hurt the other person (as opposed to catching them on a bad day or at a stressful time about a minor inconvenience), it would have been different.

Imagine that the author had smashed the pumpkin in a fit of rage, and the wife had said, “I feel sad that Mr. Pumpkin is broken.” That’s not the real issue, and saying it that way would ultimately be ineffective. Mr. Pumpkin didn’t break on his own in this situation; the author smashed him. I can’t imagine them having an effective conversation about the real issue without the wife saying something like, “I’m really shocked that you were so angry that you ended up breaking something that we both love. What made you so upset?” Because in this situation, it’s not about the broken pumpkin. It’s about what one partner did.

Actually, the article you shared is an excellent example of why it’s important to practice having these conversations about low-stakes situations so that both partners will be better equipped to handle high-stakes situations. Hearing the word “you” from an angry partner, or feeling like someone is upset because of your actions… these things are difficult, but part of life. Nobody goes through life without inadvertently hurting someone they love… but a lot of people go through life without ever being called out on it, and without ever realizing that they’ve hurt someone.

✨ serial questioner • technical writer/devops • editor of Diary of an SRE • thank you for connecting 👩🏻‍💻 kerisavoca.com

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