Dialogue Roles

Before I talk about how dialogue helps and the steps of Intentional Dialogue, I want to outline the Roles of each partner during dialogue. 

THE SENDER:  Your job is to communicate your feelings, needs, concerns and desires in a way that your partner can hear.  You will be most effective if you speak in small chunks so that it is easy for your partner to mirror you.  Speak about yourself and what is important to you – avoid talking about what is wrong with your partner.  Stay away from accusations, sarcasm, attack, curse words and generalizations.  (Otherwise you risk waking up your partner’s reptilian brain, the part of the brain that feels the need to protect and will put up walls, ensuring that you don’t get heard).  Remember – speak to communicate and explain, not to control, boss, parent, blame or demand.


THE RECEIVER:    Your job is to put your world or perspective aside for a few minutes and listen to your partner with an open heart.  Even though you may remember an incident differently or disagree with your partner’s perspective vehemently, remember that Listening does not imply Agreement, it just means that you are trying to understand what your partner’s world looks like.  If you find that your partner is going on too long and you can’t remember all that they are saying, gently put your hand up, stopping them for a minute to mirror what you have heard so far.  If you start to feel reactive or upset, ask them to stop for a minute while you calm yourself down.  If you experience what they are saying as attacking or abusive stop them and ask them to rephrase it in a way that you can hear.  Remember –  listen with compassion and an open mind.  Listen to understand, not to defend.


Carol A. Anderson, MS


My next blog post will cover why Dialogue helps. Enjoy!



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ABOUT CAROL: Carol has been married for 42 years and has been a successful Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist for 20 years. As a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist & Workshop Presenter, Carol presents workshops for both Singles & Couples! Over the years, she has helped thousands of Singles & Couples FIND, CREATE & KEEP LASTING LOVE and Begin the Journey to the Relationship of their DREAMS! Carol is now transitioning to a Coaching Practice! Why not let Carol help you to create the Relationship of your Dreams as well?


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