OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

usiplogo.gif (1499 bytes)

International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

"I" Statements not "You" Statements

Opening Page | Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page

I-messages or I-statements are a way of communicating about a problem to another person without accusing them of being the cause of the problem. Often, when someone has a problem with another person, they tell them so by using a "you-statement," for example, "you didn't finish the financial report on time!" While that statement may be true, by phrasing it that way, the listener is likely to get defensive, and begin to argue. For instance, they might reply, "I couldn't because the deadline was unreasonable!" or "You are always pestering me. I'd get more done if you'd just leave me alone!"

Another approach to the same problem is using an "I-message." For example, the worker could say, "I really am getting backed up on my work since I don't have the financial report yet." The co-worker's response to this statement is likely to be more conciliatory. For example, she might respond, "I know. I'm sorry. I'll finish it up today and try harder to meet my deadlines. I had a lot of things piling up at once this week, but I'll get it to you as quickly as I can." While this doesn't completely solve the problem, it retains the good working relationship between the two people, and is more likely to generate more cooperative interactions in the future than the accusatory, "you message" approach.


Example Link:

John Amodeo and Kris Wentworth -- Self-Revealing Communication: A Vital Bridge Between Two Worlds
The authors describe how "I-statements" reveal one's vulnerability,  but argue that this can actually lead to an increase in persuasive power, not a decrease as one might expect.   

Related Treatment Links:

Communication Skills Improvement

Face Saving


Related Problem Links:


Inflammatory Statements

Personal Attacks

Strong Emotions

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu