Out of sync and step
During a break from dance class I asked a sweaty woman in high heels if I could blog her story. She agreed if no names were used.
My husband, with not a heartbeat for dancing, went along with a non-pressured plan to take a few private ballroom lessons.
Eventually, we would be able to dance together. But for now we have our own teachers. And mine is so good.
After returning from my class one night I suggested we practice the basic cha cha steps he told me he is learning. You know, the rock step and then chassé to the left, cha-cha-cha.
We took our positions and I hummed out a tune. I waited for him to take the lead. He shuffled forward and back but not doing any cha cha steps.
I said in a good-natured way, "Oh, don't worry, I'll show you how to do it."
As I proceeded to demonstrate the first step, he said, "that's not how I have been taught to do it. I want to do it the way I was taught, otherwise I am going to be confused."
We tried again. To support him feeling sheepish that he didn't remember the steps, I said for a second time, "I'll show you how, it's very easy and I'm sure it will all come back to you."
More feet shuffling. He did a front and back rock step, but again without the cha cha. This time I was impatient and said, "Let me just show you, it's really not too hard and I know how to do it. You do the rock step and then cha cha cha to the left."
Frustrated, he said, "let's do this later because I'm getting tense and forgetting everything."
We were upset with one another. He was upset about my insistence and I was upset that he got so upset. I thought he could just as easily be laughing about it.
Next day at the studio, I asked them, "why is my husband being taught the cha cha but not with the cha cha step."
Oh, they said, after looking at the special black book, "he's not learning the cha cha. He is learning salsa!
The moral of this story according to Coach Minda:
It seems at times a miracle that we understand one another at all. We presume what we say is heard as we intend. But our varying reference points mean that understanding what we have been told, or what we have heard, leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding -- make that misunderstandings.
There are days when you are doing the cha cha and you think your partner is too. But he or she is actually doing the salsa.
Some days we are just out of sync and step!
Single or in a couple, if you want to find a deeper connection with someone or improve your current partnership, call Coach Minda: 514-791-4506
11/5/2014 12:30:04 pm
Very nice ! And the confusion that occurred is is entirely understandable .Never ASSUME you have been understood .
13/5/2014 03:17:42 pm
I suppose if we really want to be understood we have to really express ourselves well and then ask a few skill testing questions.. to be sure!
12/5/2014 02:08:13 am
Great story! The source of the frustration is often not at all clear - it's the grinding of the icebergs underwater where the cause isn't immediately evident. Sometimes it is just too much to put into words that the dance doesn't make any sense - the music is wrong, the steps are wrong... Taking a step back and figuring out who is dancing which steps to which tune is the first step to understanding. Thanks for this...!
13/5/2014 03:19:20 pm
The grinding of the icebergs.. can I steal this line! You are absolutely correct when you say the cause isn't immediately evident - on either side. Thanks Lil
12/5/2014 03:03:12 am
I wonder if our world changed subtly when eveybody started "doing their own thing" on the dance floor in the 60"s. I wonder if we have lost something valuable as we have had more and more encouragement/validation for "doing it my way" . Have we been losing track of our capacity to collaborate? Is this why they have instituted so much "group work " in schools and colleges?...To try and train us all back towards cooperation?
13/5/2014 03:23:18 pm
Hi Susan, I was one of those dancers along with everyone else I knew who danced "their own way". I still do except now as I am learning ballroom there is no "my way", but is a collaboration of sorts. Group work in schools mostly makes young people dread future collaborations!! It's lovely that you work so well with your sibs.
12/5/2014 03:52:36 am
Intentions are often misinterpreted, as with the story above, but especially when familiarity is strong. I like the comment from 00G "Never assume you have been understood". Can't count the times people have nodded affirmatively at what I've shared with them only to find out later they understood something completely different. I've tried to form the habit of asking questions instead of making statements. It's created time for listening and works much better over all.
13/5/2014 03:27:01 pm
Frankly, we hardly listen at all before are minds drift off to another thought.. it is so true that what we understand and what the other person was trying to communicate is often different. But, this is partly the way it just is - not sure we can totally get around it. But awareness that this is a human handicap means we don't have to get overly upset when we aren't understood. Thanks Cliff
12/5/2014 08:52:44 am
My wife and I dance too. I am an International Smooth dancer and she is American and Latin. We had to learn how each other likes to learn - she likes to get each step down then move to the next. I like to know the big picture and then break it down. Once we understood our learning differences - we stopped alot of frustration! Dance is a great life metaphor; after 12 years of dancing we have quite a few stories!
13/5/2014 03:29:03 pm
17/5/2014 08:33:20 am
Yes, This is a very good story about the importance of being kind to your neighbours. That is what you were trying to communicate, right???
17/5/2014 11:36:03 am
This is a big issue and there are so many different aspects to explore. One problem of raising these issues prior to reaching an agreement is that discussions arise that might set back the timeline and that will also raise new points that people don't necessarily want to spend the time exploring. I think this basic foundational work is critical to real success and yet, time and time again, it is ignored in favor of reaching agreement. I think you are so right when you say that conflicts then arise because people are operating under different assumptions. What strategies have you found work to reduce this organizational and personal tension caused by not checking out the various assumptions? Thanks Michael
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