Blanket Communication

Cinse Bonino
4 min readFeb 21, 2024

how to go from awkward to accurate


We say, “I am Sad.”

Think of emotions the way the Irish do: They say, “Sadness is upon me.” They do the same thing with every emotion: fear, anger, worry, whatever.

This is a great way to phrase it, because we are not our sadness or any other emotion we are feeling. The emotion we are feeling is just visiting us at that moment.

Imagine the emotion you are feeling as a blanket draped around your shoulders.

The goal is to not wrap yourself up in that blanket. You can even take the blanket off of your shoulders and use it as a backdrop while you communicate. You do not want to put your emotional blanket in charge of how you communicate. But you do need to admit to yourself that your blanket exists. It’s real. You ARE feeling it.


  1. Start with what you want to say. Say it (or write it down) anyway that you can. Don’t worry about getting it right. Just get it out of your head and into the air or on paper.
  2. Look at what you said. Check to see if any of the emotion from your blanket snuck into the words that you used. Maybe you added something that wasn’t about what you wanted someone to understand but was about the emotion you are feeling instead. Maybe you made what you said bigger or smaller because of the emotion you are feeling.
  3. Now figure out what it is you are actually trying to say. What would your words look like and sound like without too much of the emotion from your emotional blanket affecting them? Say or write them again in the simplest way possible. Try to use only a few words to get across the main idea of what you are trying to say. Leave out any words that seem to be about the emotions you are feeling. You can add a little of those emotions back in later if they are important to what you are trying to say.
  4. Now take your super simple sentence and try to say it or write it in a better way than you did the first time. If you’re writing, simply rewrite a new sentence under the simple sentence. If you’re speaking your sentence out loud, take a stab at saying it a new way. Again, don’t worry about getting it right. You can continue to edit it and say or write it again until you get it to say more of what you want to communicate to someone. Remember to not let your emotional blanket take over your words. Emotional blankets are both bossy and sneaky. You have to keep an eye on them.
  5. Share your sentence with someone. Ask them what they think you are saying. If they don’t understand what you mean, or if they hear or sense too much emotion from your blanket, then rewrite or say your sentence again in a way that makes your meaning clearer.
  6. Sometimes listeners have their own emotional blankets than affect the way they will hear your words. Don’t try to make your sentence perfect. Just try to get as much of what you mean across as you can.
  7. Come up with some “bridge phrases” to use when you are doing this process in real life. These are sentences that you can say when you need to edit out loud. Imagine you said, “I don’t want to go!” to someone when they asked you to go to a party. Now imagine that you said it in a way that was a little angry and too loud because you felt as if the person asking you expected you to go but you were nervous about what would happen if you went. You were also worried about hurting the person’s feeling if you said no, but the biggest emotional stripe on your blanket was the fear that people wouldn’t be nice to you at the party. A bridge phrase could be, “What I’m trying to say is…” So, you might say, “What I’m trying to say is that I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable at the party so I’m going to skip it this time.” Here is a list of some possible bridge phrases:
  8. Let me say that a different way…
  9. What’s most important to me is…
  10. Wait, what I meant to say is…
  11. Let me make that a little clearer…
  12. What I’m trying to say is…
  13. Remember that you have the right to edit what you say and to keep editing until you find the best words that you can. Sometimes other people will be cool with that and sometimes they won’t. You have to be brave. You can only control your own reactions. Say what is true for you. That’s the most important thing.

Cinse Bonino



Cinse Bonino

Cinse, a former professor with a background in the psychology of human learning, writes nonstop, and is addicted to capturing the human experience in words.