The Relating Languages Part 2: Stress and Safety in Connection

by Sara Ness

Why is it that sometimes we can be our “best selves” — grounded, connected, and aware — and sometimes, we’re a total relational mess?

Personality typing systems give us a general concept of who we are. I’m an “Enneagram 7” — enthusiastic, scattered, and adventuresome. I’m an “ENFP” — extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and prospecting. These systems have helped me understand myself, but they sometimes break down in relationship to other humans. Then, I seem to be not one type but many.

Why do I sometimes feel extroverted, and other times want to hide? Why am I intuitive when I feel clear on my role, and totally blocked when the situation feels chaotic or unclear?

I think we need a new system to complement those we have. A system that deals specifically with communication types, and how they change, and how they interact. A system that I call the Relating Languages.

In this article, I’ll talk...

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The Relating Languages Part 1, or Why We Don’t All Just Get Along

 

by Sara Ness


Hi, I’m Sara, and I am an awkwardvert.

An awkwardvert (self-titled) is a mix of extrovert tendencies with a lot of social anxiety. I want to meet you, but I also want to run away. I have always struggled with, and searched for, answers to the following questions:

What are the rules for relating? The unspoken social norms that everyone seems to understand? The right words to use? The right activities to offer? The amount I should speak, or listen?

These constant curiosities led me to become a connection teacher. Who better to teach communication than someone who has parsed it out of need? I teach mostly through facilitation, leading others to discover their own norms and way of being. Over the last decade, I’ve found something interesting.

I tried to come up with universal “rules” of behavior. Yet, people are different (profound realization, I know). Some like small talk, some judge it. Some ask questions, some never do. Some don’t seem...

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