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The Use of “I” Statements

This is a quick post to address, once and hopefully for all, an issue of writing choices, so that I can just reference it when necessary going forward, instead of having to repeat it.

There are certain contexts in which people are encouraged to use “I” statements instead of “you” or “we” statements. One example is couples therapy, where each member of a couple is invited to talk about their own needs rather than the expectations they place on the other member. Another is in some group support environments, where a speaker is invited to take ownership of their own experiences and wants, rather than hiding behind an imagined group (“I deserve better” instead of “we deserve better”), or an imagined hypothetical person (“and then I get upset” instead of “and then you get upset”).

A speaker who uses “I” statements risks being vulnerable, and of potentially coming across as self-centered, or even aggressive. In my years working on my own emotional growth in the Mankind Project, I have absorbed this practice and it has become instinctive. I then spend a lot of time at my job, or posting in the SCA, fervently editing myself and toning down the use of first-person-singular, in the interests of being more tactful and diplomatic, and less overtly forceful.

This assumption that I need to edit out and minimize my “I” statements has given me a conundrum around posting on this blog. I have internalized the need to not only edit myself, but often censor myself. The result has frequently been paralysis and prevented me from saying something I believed to be worth sharing.

This blog is about my experiences as Drake Oranwood. It’s about what I learn, what I believe, what I hope for. I share these thoughts in the hope that readers will identify with and find something of value in what I share, but I am not going to presume to speak for the bardic community in general, or the SCA, or other white men, or other neurodivergent people. I will speak only for myself, and let those who read my words decide whether those words resonate for them.

If you find the heavy use of “I” statements on this blog not to your liking…hey, I understand. But I’ve got to be me. (If you feel that it’s an indication that I’m spending too much time talking about myself when I should be shining a light on others…okay, that’s valid, and I plan to look at that too.)

2 replies on “The Use of “I” Statements”

I don’t think you have to worry about using “I” statements. First IT’S YOUR BLOG! You have a space and location where you may speak however you choose. If folks have problems with that, “they” can leave. No one is going to agree with you 100% of the time. I think we’ve lost site of that over the years. More so now with the “personal pronoun” movement. It’s been statistically proven that successful couples have about 70% in common with each other. That means, people who aren’t our significant others, are less. Probably around 50%. If you’ve found a fact to be true, or believe a fact to be true, you can say “I just feel this way” or “This is what I’ve found”. It also allows you to say “but I have been disproven before” or “I stand corrected”. Saying “I’m sorry” is one of the hardest things for people to say. It’s difficult for people to stand up for themselves and even harder to admit they were wrong. So go ahead and use I as you see fit.

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Thank you. I wasn’t so much worried about it, as I was explaining where I’m coming from. My intention is to do some more intensive blogging in the next stretch of time (particularly now that I don’t hold any official titles in my kingdom, and therefore my pronouncements should not be mistaken as speaking for the East Kingdom).

There are things I’m planning to write about that will be easier if I have posted some establishing context around how I’m approaching them. This is the first of those.

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