The Intentional Dialogue

A great way to start using the dialogue is to share something that you appreciate about your friend/partner. It creates safety and connection, and it reminds you and your friend of the things you love and appreciate about each other.

The Sender’s role, simply, is to speak from their own experience focusing on how they feel and using “I” statements. No shaming or blaming their partner or focusing on what their partner did or did not do.

The Sender begins by asking for agreement to start the dialogue:

I would like to dialogue about . . . Is now okay?

Once agreement is reached, the Sender focuses on his or her feelings and emotions using “I” statements:
I feel . . .
I love . . .
I need . . .
What’s bothering me is . . .

After the Sender completes their thoughts, the Receiver steps in.

The Receiver’s role is to listen attentively to the Sender and repeat back exactly what the Sender has said. Note that the Receiver does not have to agree with the statement, merely repeat it.

Step One: Mirroring
At the Mirroring Stage, the Receiver focuses on repeating what the Sender has said, completing the following sentence stems:
Let me see if I’ve got you.
I heard you say . . . or You said . . .
Am I getting you? or Did I get that?
Is there more about that?
When the Sender feels there is nothing further to say, it is time for the Receiver to summarize the essence of what the sender has said:
Let me see if I got it all . . .?
Am I getting you? Did I get all of that? or
Is that a good summary?

Step Two: Validation
At the Validation Stage, the Receiver steps into the Sender’s world and identifies the ways in which Sender’s actions make sense from their perspective.
The Receiver completes the following sentence stem:
You make sense to me, and what makes sense is . . .
I can understand that . . .given that . . .
I can see how you would see it that way because sometimes I do . . .

Step Three: Over and Over

After the sender feels validated, then make sure they have shared all that there is to share by asking:

Is there more? 

Offer time for the sender to finish/empty their feelings/thoughts/comments. If they offer new information, then mirror and validate again. Repeat this step as long as there is time available for you two to keep diving deeper. 

Step Four: Empathy
At the Empathy Stage, the Receiver again steps into the Sender’s world in order to identify the feelings behind Sender’s experience.
The Receiver completes the following sentence stem:
I imagine you might be feeling . . .
Is that what you’re feeling?