The FAE-technique for healthy relationships

Today, I would like to share one of the verbal communication techniques that is easy to use and very effective. Not only is it related and relevant to the recent topic of strengthening boundaries but it also works as an effective conflict resolution method. Overall, it assists in developing good healthy relationships and ensures clarity, security and mutual understanding.

This technique is called FAE, and it consists of three elements: Fact – Attitude – Expectation.

1. The Fact is a description of the specific situation, incident or behavior. It is something that has visual confirmation about which we inform the other party, all the while providing important details.

For example: Today, you were arguing with me in front of my friends.

2. The Attitude is our emotional reaction to what happened. In one of my blog articles, I explained how this attitude may be expressed, namely in the form of I-statements, which verbalizes how this Fact influences us emotionally.

For example, Today, I was upset and frustrated when you were arguing with me in front of my friends.

3. The Expectation is a concrete and decisive definition of what we want from the other party based the Fact and our Attitude. Expectation may also include what we are ready to do to minimize a repetition of the Fact.

For example: Today, I was upset and frustrated when you were arguing with me in front of my friends. Next time if you have something to say, please wait until we get home or write me a note about what’s going on. In the case of a note I will acknowledge you and we’ll talk privately as soon as possible.

This technique is very useful in that it solves several problems simultaneously. First, we draw a line between ourselves and another person by identifying the “I” and the “You” positions. It helps to establish boundaries between two people. Second, by providing the emotional feedback, we unwittingly look inside ourselves and reflect which means that we are not only building our relationships with others, but also developing a relationship with our own self. Third, the FAE feedback is a polite and accepted manner of criticism, and works as an effective preventive and conflict management tool.

Of note, in situations when the FAE technique is not enough, you may consider other verbal responses that are more straightforward and that you can implement if a person continues to attack your boundaries.

Here are a few of them:

– You cannot do it with me!

– Stop doing it!

– I am not allowing you to speak to me in this tone!

– I will not tolerate such an attitude against myself!

– It just does not suit me!

Also, don’r overlook the use of body language when defending your boundaries. Remember that your message consists of only 7% of words, the remaining 93% is your intonation, speed and volume of speech, pauses, eye contact, distance, gestures and postures.

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