The Odd Dialogue Practice

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The Odd Dialogue

© Al Turtle 2006 
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You are Uninformed at that point when you think your partner is doing something odd or that “doesn’t make sense to you.”  If you were informed, you wouldn’t think it odd, and you would see your partner’s sense. Only two things prevent you from seeing their sense: they need to tell you, and you need to listen.

Step One: Make an Appointment

Receiver (observer) requests an appointment using a phrase such as, “When you did that (mention the action, not your interpretation of it) I know it made sense to you (PreValidation), but it seemed odd to me or I didn’t understand what was going on for you.  Could I make an appointment so that you can help me understand you?”

Step Two: Mirroring

Sender, make an appointment and, with your partner mirroring, tell your “entire story.” Include issues, values and any parts of your experience or history that might help your partner understand your motives, feelings and/or actions. Perhaps start with, “I made sense, and here it is.” Give your partner at least two “factors” that contribute to your “sense.”   Ideally, you want to give your partner at least two “Oh. I see!” experiences.  You want the receiver to be able to say, “I see why you did that….”  Stay in mirroring until you feel you have told it all.   (Keep this sending reasonably short as you can, but send it all. Practice sending in pieces.)

Step Three: Validating

Receiver, validate your partner.  Using your partner’s words (and other information you are sure is correct from your partner’s point of view) speak about your partner’s sense.  Don’t even consider agreement or disagreement.  Just bear witness to their way of seeing and doing things.  Perhaps start with “I see/hear your sense.  You did that of feel that because for you ….”  Check to see if they think you got it.  Your partner should feel “understood” if you are successful.  

Stop.  

Now, both of you fill in the boxes below.  This is a learning experience and can be used over and over until your scores are high.  (Read more on Validation.)

ScoreUnderstand

Scorevalidate


Comments

The Odd Dialogue Practice — 4 Comments

  1. i have been reading lots of your materials my wife i think is a histrionic personality. i only came upon this term after a doctors visit for my self as a result of her leaving me. well she is as of tomorrow looking for a house and taking my two little girls. i will have a little contact with her when i pick up or drop girls off minimal contact. the thing you mentioned about post cards should i still use that approach as i will be seeing her once fortnite. i enjoy your information thanks Tere

    • Dear Tere, I would put a lot less emphasis on your wife’s “diagnosis” and focus on PreValidating/Validating her, and probably Validating yourself for a) not seeing this coming and b) not stopping it. In the process you may stumble on practical steps to improve the situation. Good luck.

  2. Dear Sarah,
    Glad you are enjoying the “fare.” I make up that everytime someone learns a bit from my website, there is a ripple of better relationships that spreads out into the world. Kind of humble and grandiose at the same time 🙂
    The Odd Dialogue does seem simple and elegant. I use it in my office when I am teaching couples Validation and PreValidation. I do this right after I have taught Mirroring – same session or next one. The phrase you mention is just to re-affirm some ideas in Mirroring.
    One of the lessons that Mirroring teaches is to think of the needs of your listener while you are talking to them. This involves learning to not talk too much or too fast for them. Specifically one needs to learn to make it easy to mirror by sending short phrases or sentences, letting them Mirror and Pull you, and then sending more short phrases. The idea is to send your whole point, being as concise as possible, and perhaps sending it in pieces, till it is all sent.
    I was not thinking of sending something over days, but life as a couple is really kind of like that – over years. You update your partner's knowledge of you, bit by bit. You learn their sense, too. Patience is a powerful requirement.
    Al

  3. Hi Al,
    This idea is so brilliantly simple. I'm not sure what this means exactly, though: “Keep this sending reasonably short as you can, but send it all. Practice sending in pieces.” Do you send in pieces by telling things over a series of days/dialogues, or is it just that you're telling a little and then stopping to mirror?
    Thank you again– I am learning so much from your site! Nothing has ever clicked with me like this.
    Sarah

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