Arguments, especially in our most important relationships, often start because we have to tell someone something they don’t really want to hear. Even if we’re not sure how they’ll handle it, we assume the worst. We don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them angry. We go about it the wrong way. Or worse, we don’t say anything at all and the resentment quickly builds!
Today’s article will teach you all about a technique for saying what you need to say with minimal damages.
Positive + Negative + Positive = Spared Feelings
The Sandwich Technique is a communication strategy that will help you be more assertive and spare some feelings in the process. Use it when giving constructive criticism. Or when you’re asking someone to change their behavior. It can help soften the blow to any ego.
You can use this with partners, spouses, your cleaning lady or employees, coworkers, really anyone with whom you have an on-going relationship.
I use this technique with my husband ALL the time. I typically use it when he does something around the house that either I wanted done a different way or that I actually would rather he not do (because I’m a control freak like that).
But remember, if you’re truly coming from a good place and the other person still gets upset, that’s on them. How they react is their choice.
Sandwich Technique has helped my marriage!
Follow these three steps to constructing your own verbal sandwich:
1. Start out with something positive.
“Hey, thanks so much for taking the kids to the pool so I could have some quiet time.”
2. Slip in the negative.
“Can you take the trash out on the way?”
3. Finish with a positive.
“That would be so helpful to me. You’re awesome!”
And maybe I also give him a hug, a pat on the back, or I flash a smile.
It may not sound like much, but compare it to how these sound (read with nasty tone):
“Take the trash with you when you leave.”
“Can you at least take the trash out?”
“I finally get some time to myself.”
It can be hard to nicely ask for help when we are overwhelmed or frustrated because our needs are unmet. When we use the Sandwich technique, we avoid hurting our partner’s feelings (as much) and still get what we want, too. It’s a Win-Win!
I’d love to hear how this technique has worked for you!
Illustration by: blankabiernat.com
About the Author
Amanda Campbell is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Life Coach in private practice. She helps worry warts gain peace of mind, distant couples to reconnect, and busy moms find balance.