Relationship Skills

Family Resources on When I Feel I Need Part 3

Project and Purpose

Establishing and nurturing intimate and essential communication in core relationships.

Essential Questions

How does a “When… I Feel… I Need” statement help us communicate with someone we are close to?

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students assessed how to describe and discuss their emotions and feelings with others. In part 1, students learned about vocabulary and discussed how to describe various emotional states by developing charts in small groups. In part 2, students practiced using their vocabulary using “I” statements, or statements that focus on describing their own feelings which helps focus the conversation. Students used the sentence formula as they speak to others, “When I feel [emotional state], I need [type of support from other person].” In part 3 students applied “When I feel…I need…” statements to a dating/romantic partner relationship.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

People sometimes have difficulty communicating because we don’t know the right word for what we are feeling or other times people have trouble describing their needs to others. In this series of lessons students expand their vocabulary and practice describing various emotional contexts in ways that support connection in relationships. Once students understand the vocabulary associated with various feelings, they can tell others what support they need. Using “I” statements can be applied to dating relationships.

Conversation Starters and Practice at Home

The first item is for follow-up after participating in class activities.

Describe how a “When I feel…I need…” statement would be different (or apply) to a dating relationship. Why would it be important to use a “When I feel…I need…” statement to a dating (or romantic) relationship?

Why do you think it is important to understand how to describe different emotions (or feelings) you have to a romantic partner?

Practice expressing these feelings or situations for a “When I feel…I need…” statement within a dating relationship. Assess the effectiveness of using this approach. How would this approach help a romantic partner understand? Choose a situation to discuss.

School to Home Resources on When I Feel I Need Part 3


  • When I… Starter Statement Sets (from When I Feel I Need part 2 session) (enough for each student)
  • When I Feel I Need Examples (from When I Feel I Need part 2 session)
  • 3 completed A-Z charts for “Sad”, “Mad” and “Happy” (from When I Feel I Need part 1 session)
  • Paper/writing instruments
  • Highlighters


Review and restate session norms. These should remind students how to interact and communicate respectfully. Essential question should be prominently displayed. [1-2 minutes]

Activity 1

  • Review the A-Z charts students created in session 1 and discuss why students created the charts. Select students to give examples of “When…I Feel…I Need” statements from the previous session or give students Starter Statements to come up with a few examples to share with the whole group.
  • Ask students if anyone would like to share a time they have used a “When…I Feel…I Need” statement since the last session (optional).
  • Have each student in turn pick out a “When…I Feel…I Need” starter and practice saying one. Provide feedback as needed.

[10 minutes]

Activity 2

Reflecting questions.

  • If you have not already done so, pass out “When I…Starter Statements” to each student. Discuss with students that they can also use “When…I Feel…I Need” statements when talking with a person that they share a personal relationship with. Ask students to highlight Starter Statements where the situations could apply to personal relationships. Allow students to also jot down any notes that might come to mind and to write down any additional Starter Statements that they can think of on their own.
  • If you need to you can also ask the following thinking questions.
  • “We have talked about communication in general, but is it easier or harder to use When…I Feel…I Need statements in a caring relationship?”
  • “Do you believe that taking the time to think about a When…I Feel…I Need statement helps your relationship partner listen to you?”

[5-10 minutes]

Activity 3

  • Split students into groups of 2 (and one group of 3 if necessary). [Depending on your knowledge of the students you may want the same groupings or different groupings from the previous session.]
  • Ask students in each group to choose one of the Starter Statements highlighted or another Starter Statement they came up with on their own. Tell your partner the situation and practice saying a When…I Feel…I Need statement using the starter statement they
  • Allow students to practice, receive feedback from their partner and then switch roles.
  • Once both students have practiced with their partners, have students come back together in a circle and share their When…I Feel…I Need statements with the entire group. Facilitator should provide feedback as necessary.

[10-20 minutes]


Debriefing questions.

  • How does a “When… I Feel… I Need” statement help us communicate with someone we are close to?
  • Do you believe that taking the time to think about a When…I Feel…I Need statement helps your relationship partner listen to you?
Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.