Also, there was another purebred heading dog. It was interesting to watch this dog do all the same things First does - clapping, running with head completely still and not necessarily looking where it's going, sudden stop/start/turn movements, being the fastest dog on the beach. And yes, when they met it was all *eye* ... *eye back* ... *small tail wag* ... *one step forward* .. *eye some more*. Funny. They were definitely on the same wavelength. Like, First doesn't really get doggie communication in a lot of ways. It's like being bred to be so good with sheep has made her obsessive/compulsive to the point where interaction with other dogs is never going to be natural. It was kind of reassuring to see that she's not a Freak of Nature, that other strong-eyed dogs are just the same. I guess that's why not a lot of heading dogs get to be pets. They just aren't pet-natured.
I remember when I went to marriage counselling with my ex husband, being told that when we interact with people, we give out what we most want back - we treat others the way we want to be treated. I always wondered why this man wanted to be treated so badly.. but anyway..
I can see the sense in this theory. I like lots of validation - it makes me feel listened to, cared about and as if what I have to say is, well.. valid. So, I give out lots of validation. At least, I try to. I think I do.
But, what happens when you get two people who are so different that when one gives out what they want back, the other sees nothing they want in the communication? And the return communication, full of 'this is what makes me happy so I'm giving it to you in the hope that it'll work for you' is totally the wrong thing to give back? Is that when the situation arises that the people are talking 'at' each other? And to complicate the issue, what happens when those two people have an emotional vested interest in trying to understand each other - like they really care about what the other person thinks, but everything they say seems wrong or ineffective?
I wonder how much of this is contained in the phrase "You don't listen to/understand me." It really sucks when you're trying to tell someone you care about how you feel about something, and their reply doesn't speak to any of the things that were important 'markers' for you to feel validated. It feels just as bad when someone says something and you give what would be the perfect reply for you, full of understanding and support, and it's totally the wrong thing for them. Wind-out-of-sails for all concerned, bad feeling and misunderstanding ensues. Usually followed by negative feelings towards the other person from both sides - there's something wrong with them - or, if you're me (and probably lots of other people too), you wonder what's wrong with you.
So, how do we get around this? We aren't all the same, far from it. When it's acquaintances or work mates, or such, we don't care enough for it to be a problem. We just go "Oh well, no biggie" and carry on. But, what if it's friends, family or SO? People whose reactions to our communication affect us on a deep level?
So - give up? No way. Not if you care. Try to figure what the other person is saying, convert it into your own language inside your head, and see if it works for you that way? Possible, but complicated. Here's a novel concept. How about asking? I know, this sounds really stupid. But I'm pretty sure a lot of those kind of misunderstandings could be fixed by dropping the assumption that the other person a) understands our personal communication style, b) is using our communication style instead of theirs and c) is deliberately invalidating us because they are mean.
Those kind of assumptions hurt. I like not hurting. So, I'm trying to train myself to ask, and of course listen to what the other person says when I ask so I can attempt to understand instead of being all hurt and spiky, or just bulldozing my opinion of what they've said over the top of what they are actually saying.* And, the other thing I'd like to learn to do, is do all this naturally because feeling as if someone's practicing their listening skills on you amounts to feeling condescended to, and that doesn't improve communication at all. Listening without judgement is really really hard. It's even harder to genuinely do it - ie listen without judgement without appearing to be all psychobabblebullshitty.
Tips, hints and other stuff that might help all gratefully accepted.
* Working on this one. Hard because I'm opinionated. "Really Tats?" I hear you gasp. "I hadn't noticed."
Of course, it could just be that I think too much.
Fuck rocket science. Human interaction is way more complicated. It takes a lifetime to master, and some people never really do. I'd like to. I really would. Even if all it means is I can ring Ralph up and go "Hah! More big stuff! Nyah!"
One Love today. I was considering going but I think the beach is calling more loudly. Did I mention how much I enjoy watching First hooning?