Friday, January 1, 2016

Relationship Communication: I Speak You...

Deb and Stephanie & Dancers
Their First Dance
Central Park

I'm a big dancer... swing, salsa, blues. To be a good partner dancer, I have to listen with my whole body and respond in the moment. Communicating in relationships, especially those longer than one three minute song, is the same. To get to know my sweetheart, family, co-worker, mother, best friend, mail carrier, coffee barista, masseuse, I pick up on their rhythm, inflection, way, and m.o.. Their special combination is their personality. I can even imitate them, to all our delight. I have heard that up to 80% of all communication is non-verbal - hence the instant popularity of emoticons to convey physical signs in texts and emails.

I have to learn to talk the other person's verbal language, too. We think we all speak English (French, Taiwanese, Gibberish, Etc.), yet we really each have our own language. There are really billions of languages on 
this planet. Whomever I love (which, let's face it, is everyone), I have to learn their language, and get fluent in it. I can't ever be like an unfriendly xenophobic tourist and say to someone with my words or actions, "I don't speak You." If I love you, I learn to speak You. And You learn to speak Me. 

Speaking and Listening from the Heart
Stephanie and Deb in Central Park

Speaking You includes comprehending their body language, words, feelings, and intentions. If each person is their own country, we are really all world travelers. Look how many places we have been, and all we have learned about the native customs of each person's place!

Listening is physical, emotional, and intellectual. Which do you find you start from? How can you bring balance to your listening style by embracing all three?

Karim and Fatima
Ceremony Rehearsal
Central Park
Photo: Chris Monroe