The Art of Nonviolent Communication


Micah Salaberrios


  • Communication becomes harder when we accuse, criticize, and judge

  • Judgement is an opinion: not right or wrong

What to use instead

  • Facts, feelings, needs, and requests

  • Leave evaluations, judgements, criticism, analysis, advice, accusations, and opinions behind

  • Can you please stop tapping your foot? It’s really annoying (bad)

  • You’re tapping your foot and I’m feeling annoyed because I would like silence to focus right now. Would you be willing to stop or go in the other room? (good)


  • Fact, Feeling, Why, Request

  • recipe for better communication

Facts vs Evaluations

  • Your room is a mess (evaluation)

  • Your bed is unmade, there are dirty clothes on the floor and you have a pile of trash in the corner (observable facts)

  • Your driving recklessly (evaluation)

  • You’re driving 20 miles over the speed limit and you just ran a red light (facts)

Feelings and Accountability

  • No matter what happens, you are responsible for how you feel 100% of the time

  • I feel annoyed (accountable) vs you’re annoying me (blaming)

Common missteps

  • Using “I feel . . .” is usually an evaluation disguised as a feeling

  • Stay away from verbs that imply blame: tricked, ambushed, bullied, provoked, insulted, criticized, ignored

Unmet needs

  • Easy step to leave out, but important to include the need

  • Usually starts with because

  • When you showed up late to our meeting, I felt angry because I don’t like people to waste my time (guilt trip)

  • When you showed up late to our meting, I felt angry because my time is very important to me (good)


  • A request is something that can be refused without punishment

  • It is also measurable and doable

Specific Requests

  • Avoid vague, unmeasureable requests

  • Would you be willing to be careful with your spending? (vague)

  • Would you be willing to write down everything you spend money on for the next two weeks? (specific)

Requests vs Demands

  • It’s about needs being met, not the specific request

  • The requests are possible strategies to getting our needs met

Never compromise

  • The goal is to get both parties needs met completely

  • Keep communicating until you find a win win

Emergency Empathy

  • Use this in the moment when things get out of hand

  • Guess how someone feels and why they feel as they do

  • Are you feeling angry because they’re leaving out important details?

  • People love being asked about themsevles and feeling like someone is try to understand where they are coming from

More principles

  • We are all responsible for how we feel

  • Feelings are generally one word

  • Mistakes lead to wisdom