expressing feelings

This communication activity shows students examples of expressing feelings in an argument without blaming the other person.

There can be a lot of tension surrounding expressing feelings, especially if you or the other person lack certain communication skills. We all can have a tendency to blame the other person for causing our hurt feelings.

While this may very well be true, outright blaming a friend, colleague, or significant other for hurting your feelings can lead them to be defensive and escalate an argument. This is especially important because we can sometimes make assumptions about the other person’s intent and feelings at the time that may not be accurate.

A better strategy for our students (and us) to learn and practice is explaining how we feel and what made us feel that way without blaming the other person.

I recently had an argument with a friend over a game I lent him.

He was hosting a game night at his house and as if he could borrow my Codenames game. I had only used the game a couple times myself since I bought it, but it’s a game meant to be played so I was happy to lend it to him.

When he returned the game, some of the cards were sticky and stuck together. It was clear that a drink must have been spilled on the table while the game was being played.

Instead of asking what happened or if he even knew that some of the cards were damaged, I just assumed he was careless and called him out on ruining my new game. What could have been a calm conversation quickly turned into an argument. Had I used better communication strategies, I would have handled the situation a lot better.

In this worksheet, students will read the statement of one scarab beetle to his partner. They will then suggest what the scarab beetle say next from multiple choice options. The best response will convey how the beetle felt in that situation, helping him with expressing feelings without putting all of the blame on the other beetle. The situations and images on this worksheet are based on a scene in SS GRIN, which is geared towards students in grades 3-5.

Two of our Zoo U communication worksheets are great introductions to this communication strategy. I Statements give students a clear template for stating their feelings by saying “I feel”…”when you”… “and I want…” and You Statements offer a template for responding to I Statements by saying “You sound”… “because I”… “and I will…”