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  • Writer's pictureJulie Galloway, LPC-RPT

Talking the Tango- Stepping Up with Smooth Communication Moves

The tango is a dance that originated in Buenos Aires, that is marked with rhymes, postures and abrupt pauses...that sounds like communication to me.

I've spent almost 18 years focused on communication...obsessed with it really. I did not set out to learn about the importance of communication because I was interested in it, but desperate for it. I submerged myself in books, experts and professionals that could help me find a way to connect with my non-verbal son. Although, I haven't uncovered the magic that lets his voice form words, I did learn that behavior is intimately connected to communication. It's mind blowing to discover that words are not necessary for communication when you have an interested person actively paying attention.

It's a fact that all people want to feel heard. And when we do not feel heard, we become upset and do one of two things...shut down or get loud. No matter your age or intellectual ability, we all want to feel that we matter.

I believe without a doubt that most of us have good intentions... so when we engage in communication with another human we aren't purposefully trying to hurt them through our words. We are trying to understand or help.

My favorite moments as a psychotherapist are when my clients feel shocked to find out that their approaches (dance steps) might actually be blocking (tripping) them from doing what they actually are trying to do...understand and help.

When you say this they might hear that...

Information from Active Parenting by Michael Popkin

Stop Complaining!

Calm down.

I don’t count

What I have to say isn’t important

Next time you should…

I never do anything right

I am not good enough

You’re beautiful/smart no matter what ---- says about you.

You don’t understand

You are lying to my face

Let’s go do something fun to take your mind off of it.

Feelings are bad

You should bury them

What did you do to make--- happen?

If something bad happens it must be my fault

Every cloud has a silver lining

Tomorrow is a new day!

My feelings don’t matter

How do you feel about--?

Why do you feel that way?

No one else feels this so I need to explain

It’s not the end of the world.

I’m a jerk/stupid for having these feelings

That’s just the way things go.

I’m not allowed to feel the way I feel because a bigger explanation makes more sense than what I think

Breaking down the dance with 5 basic moves

1. Recognizing our part when our conversations end in disagreements is half of the battle; even when it occurs AFTER the fact.

2. Understanding someone DOES NOT mean we are accepting rudeness or their difficult behaviors.

3. It's okay to make mistakes they are inevitable and a huge part of our learning processes.

4. Acknowledging feelings are legitimate and much needed for all people BUT that does not mean you need to fix it or agree to something because of a feeling.

5. Listening to someone includes paying attention to their behavior, tone of voice and body language. It makes a huge difference interpreting critical moments.

Dancing your way to the finale.

Try starting a conversation off with one of these and watch how the audience responds...I'm guessing you will love the ending.

  1. I wonder if...

  2. What do you think would happen if..

  3. I see that you are...

  4. How can I help you with ...

If we practice, pay attention to our partner we just might get a standing O...

If you like what you read and want more contact Galloway Counseling Services at 337-258-5199. Don't forget to like and share.

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