Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson
Don’t Do it This Way!
Mind Reading: You assume you know what the other person is thinking or why they did something. “You
don’t care about me.” “You just want me to fail.” “You did that on purpose.”
Name Calling: You attack a person’s character or call them names instead of focusing on a specific behavior
that bugs you. “You lazy so and so.” “You’re totally irresponsible.” “You stupid jerk.”
You Always or You Never…: “You’re always late.” “You never do anything around here.”
Blaming: Usually done with a hostile, angry intent to hurt the other person. “It’s all your fault we’re in this mess.”
Cross Complaining: The, “Yes, but…what about when you do such and such….” You may have a complaint,
too, but show respect and focus on listening to what they are saying first.
Kitchen Sinking: You start with one complaint and then throw in another, and another, and another,
ultimately overwhelming the person.
A Better Way: The WWA Formula
W: What happened—focus on a specific behavior.
W: When or Where—focus on the last time the behavior happened.
A: How it Affected you—Let the other person know how it affected you, why it bothers you, or how you felt.
Take 2 complaints and turn them into more effective ones using a WWA.
Example: When you don’t ask about my opinion but just lecture me like
you did last night, I feel like my thoughts don’t matter.
Use WWA for appreciations.
Example: It was really great for you to go to your little sister’s game
today. It meant a lot for her to see you there.
Gripes and Complaints—
Be Heard, Not Ignored
Adapted and used with permission from PREP for Individuals.
and complaints—be
not ignored
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