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Pause I-Statements for Your Back Pocket

Community Chest of Sample I-Statements to Take a Pause


The Pause is asking us to do something really difficult: to take the moments when we feel least mindful and engage in the most mindful way. If this seems challenging to you, you're not alone. While it feels hard to break old habits of responding to stress, doing so is the path to turning conflict into an opportunity for positive change. One great way to overcome old habits is to have a new one ready to go.

We've collected some sample I-statements to evoke a Pause once you've notice that you're in a stressful conflict situation (a special thanks to the participants of our October 20th workshop for sharing these great I-statements). Find one that feels right to you to put in your back pocket for the next time you might need it. Then think about adding your own Pause I-statement in comments below!


  • I want to make sure I understand all your concerns so we can address them constructively. Do you mind if I take about 15 minutes just to think about that, please?

  • We both need time to cool off can we talk about this at a later time.

  • I can see that you feel strongly about this, and I want us to figure this out together. Let's both take a step back, take a breath, and gather our thoughts on how we might get this done together.

  • I'm surprised this conversation took the turn it has. Maybe we can step away and reconnect in a couple of days so I can reflect on what you've said.

  • I know we just got started but I’d like to turn off my camera and take a 5 minute break. All right with you?

  • I'm having a little trouble processing on the spot! Do you mind if I step away a few minutes and come back?

  • Our relationship is important to me and I’m not happy with how this conversation is going. Can we take a break, think about what we are each saying, and then try this again another day?

  • I'm really exasperated right now and need some time to settle myself and parse out why this is so utterly upsetting. My throat even feels tight. I don't think I can talk for a while. Would it work for you to take a walk and talk after you are back from the performance? Or even tomorrow some time that works?

  • I want the solution that we come up with to take care of both of us. I don’t feel capable right at this moment of ensuring both of our needs on this topic are met. I could use a bit of time to collect myself Could we take a pause so I can work to see both your and my needs, and then we can meet later today?

  • I feel like I’m not well resourced and not being my best self right now. Can we come back to this when I’m in a better place to talk about this productively?

  • I want the opportunity to hear you better, but I’m going to need a few minutes to get there.

We're grateful for the community effort in growing this resource. If you take one, considering leaving one in the comments below!

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