Tuesday, 16 June 2009

I vs You

I really hate it when my boyfriend says 'You know I love you'. I shouldn't right?

It is his favourite thing to say when I am upset or whining. For instance, when I say 'You no longer text like you used to.' The reply will be 'C'mon you know I love you.' How does that solve the problem?! Actually, how do I know he loves me if he doesn't tell me? Why should he assume that I know? Is that an excuse for not texting me? He somehow believes that because he told me last week, then it should stand till this week. In a girl's world, it doesn't work like that. Out of sound is out of existence. People can stop loving each other in minutes let alone weeks.

When I really thought about it, I realised it is not just him. I do not like that word 'you'. It is a relationship breaker. Not just with boyfriends but also friends, colleagues, clients especially.

Take this scenario. A client comes in late for an appointment. She apologises a million times and explains that the child-minder was late. You get started and then towards the end realise that you cannot complete the look because you've run out of time. You then turn to the client and say 'Your make-up cannot be completed because you came late.' She again apologises and you say there is nothing you can do and she leaves feeling very bad that she came late and spoiled everything.
How does that make you feel as an artist? She left you with a heavy heart and more unhappy than when she met you (not to mention the half make-up), and will probably not be dialling your cell phone any time soon.

Now imagine the same client and the same situation. Towards the end when you realise you have no more time, you turn to her and you say 'I cannot complete this look on you because I have run out of time.' By saying that, you have said exactly the same thing, but you did not blame her for it. She will again apologise and you will say there is nothing more I can do and she will leave, but not feeling as terribly as if you blamed her for it and she will almost certainly return to you.
Yes it is her fault, but she has acknowledged and apologised already, there is no need for extra blame. This sort of language puts people off.

Another example, you came back only to find your favourite lime crime pigment had been used and you know exactly who it is. You walk up to your friend and you say 'You are annoying, you used my pigment without my permission.' This is a direct accusation and provocation. Just because she used your pigment doesn't mean she is an annoying person. She then says 'What do you mean I am annoying, you are also annoying' and then a fight ensues.

Imagine you walked up to that friend and you said 'I am annoyed'. By saying that you have empowered yourself. Your friend will ask you 'Why are you annoyed?' and you will say 'You used my pigment and I don't like it' and the next thing will almost certainly be 'I'm sorry'.

Another example, client/bestie/boyfriend walks up to you when you are not in such a good mood and you say 'What do you want?' She/he says 'nothing' and walks away thinking what a cow you are.

Imagine you said to the same person 'What can I do for you?'. By saying that you have made yourself approachable and put yourself at their service. The person says 'Oh I'd like you to please conceal this red spot I have a very important place to go.' You take 2 minutes of precious time and conceal the spot and they're off. This person left you thinking the world of you. If they happen to be some place where people are talking about make-up and gurus and bloggers and what-nots, will they tell others about you? You bet they would.

When you use 'you' more than you use 'I', you come across as an attacker and you empower the other person. You want to always be empowered while being the servant. You must serve in order to lead. There are situations however where I is not what you want to be using, like those I-am-better-than-you scenarios. Avoid such because it makes people feel inferior. You don't want anyone feeling inferior around you. Use language that puts you at other people's service, and does not attack people. You will gain a place in their hearts. Your reputation is the single most important thing people carry about you. Build it well.

Back to my boyfriend, when I really think about it, I attacked him first. I should have said 'I haven't received your text message' or 'Where is my text for today?' or anything nicer than 'You never text like you used to.'
When I said 'You never text like you used to', if he had said to me 'I want you to know I love you', wow! I would have shut up for a moment, then said 'I love you too' and gone to sleep.

Alas, after he said 'You know I love you', I said "I don't know that you love me because you haven't told me';
'Yes I've told you, I told you last week';
'Last week is not today'
'Why are you so difficult?';
'What now I'm difficult, and you aren't?' and then the fight continued...


  1. you are SO SO right! i cannot emphasise that enough!!! This is most certainly a lesson i have come to learn and i'm still learning daily!

    In theory, it's basic isn't it? people get defensive the minute they feel you are attacking them! but in practice when u are so mad..oh my goodness!!

    A personal experience for me was 'you don't make me as important as you used to'..naturally i got defensive and mad (albeit momentarily)..wat a world of difference it would have made if i was told 'i don't feel like i'm important to you'..having said that, i'm just as guilty!!

    Thanks for sharing this, i will most certainly be comming back to read this over and over until i get it right!


  2. i hate it too...oddly enough only my sketchy ex boyfriends replied with responses like that..so perhaps it was a guilt and defense mechanism wrapped in one


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