The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate
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The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  608 ratings  ·  50 reviews
In her most affirming and life-changing book yet, Dr. Harriet Lerner teaches us how to restore love and connection with the people who matter the most. In The Dance of Connection we learn what to say (and not say) when:

- We need an apology, and the person who has harmed us won't apologize or be accountable.
- We don't know how to take a conversation to the next level when w...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 6th 2002 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2001)
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Lori
Some difficult interactions with a few individuals have been wearing me down. My therapist recommended The Dance of Anger, but after reviewing Lerner's titles we decided this one would be more appropriate. While I don't feel as though I'm ready to resolve all these issues, the key message I took from this book was a focus on being true to oneself while still very respectfully interacting with people who are important to you. (Unexpected bonus: the idea that there are difficult people that you ma...more
Allison
Apr 17, 2012 Allison rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who want to connect more deeply
Shelves: inspirational
3.5

I liked this "Dance..." better than "The Dance of Fear." This one seemed more application-based, as the author provided a lot of examples of how people communicated, connected, and just plain showed up in normal and difficult situations. The book helped me to think simultaneously critically and gently about how I communicate/connect and how those I'm closest with communicate/connect. She had good information and examples about the different ways people connect. The book was focused mostly on...more
Nick
I've read a lot of books on psychology, pop, academic, and somewhere in between. Most of them offer a few insights that have been useful to me along the way. "Difficult Conversations" comes to mind -- check that book out if you have a teenager that you're having a hard time connecting with, for example.

But few of these books have had something even more useful than insight: wisdom. "The Dance of Connection" is that rarity, a book full of wisdom, and indeed holds back from offering easy insights...more
Brittany Wilmes
Harriet Lerner's book (the first of hers I've read) goes beyond the typical psych-pop fluff, which tends to draw heavily on far-reaching and inconclusive research to prove an aggressive agenda (e.g., creativity is within everyone, exercise improves mood, you can train yourself to overcome X). Lerner approaches the subject of communication and family systems with compassion, experience, and most importantly, wisdom.

This wasn't a cut-and-dry How to Become A Functional Family in Six Easy Steps, but...more
Deb
*First, we must learn to dance alone*

To me, this book is the closest thing to an instruction book on relating to others in ways that preserve the self. Harriet offers clear, insightful, and do-able advice on learning how to hear our own voice and then clearly (and courageously) share it with others. Throughout the book, she continually illuminates the theme of focusing on the self instead obsessing about the other. The dance of connection begins with learning how to gracefully dance alone.
Jill
Loved this book. I bought Marriage Rules to help with some premarital counseling, and picked this one up as well. So good! I will definitely be checking out some of her other books.

"The self is always under construction.."
Sarah
Dec 30, 2013 Sarah marked it as to-read
Hoping for the best, expecting...
Lia
Not as good as her other books.
Lindsay
May 05, 2013 Lindsay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
I picked up this book at Barnes & Noble because I needed something to help me work through some bad patterns of mine. I'd intended to get a CBT workbook, but this book ended up speaking to me in ways I'm not sure the workbook would have done. Lerner brings grace and humor to her work, and she combines fierce feminism with an essential humility.

I especially like her recognition of the ways men and women are brought up - she engages with these distinct socializations rather than using them as...more
Adam
This book, and the other of Lerner's I've read (Dance of Anger) are so rich with insight and ideas and suggestions that I've held onto my library copy for days after it was due, despite the hounding to return it! I'll certainly want to own a copy and refer back often. It's great help for all kinds of stuck relationships and for developing a 'voice' to speak to them with, whether families, friends or significant others. She's really a treasure. Highly recommended!


=================================...more
Kelli Oliver George
I am a huge fan of Harriet Lerner, but this book felt to me to be one of her weaker ones. In her earlier books, there were more action-oriented takeaways to be had -- the Dance of Anger is one that I have read several times (as I grow older myself and as new relationships, new jobs take hold, I have found that I always learn something new from the Dance of Anger)
Eileen
Excellent self-help book. Lerner shows us how to communicate effectively and compassionately with those we love the most- even when those conversations are under difficult circumstances. She gives great advice about how to reconnect with those with whom we may have had difficult relationships.
Alejandro
Although it is written through life experiences I did enjoy reading it a bit. I always thought that when you wrote these kinds of books they were more generalized. it also made me realize that there are more of us out there than I thought, the emotionally broken/functional unemotional people (based on your perspective I guess).
K
I guess this is more self-help than professional lit, but it's Harriet Lerner and it's Bowen-based, and it does offer me conversational language that I can use with my clients.

This isn't exactly a how-to book, contrary to what the title might suggest. It's more of a way to examine your relationships and your functioning within those relationships, often through case studies from Harriet's professional and personal life. Overall, I found the book readable, informative, and helpful, and while many...more
Carol
A wise book by an expansive, larger-than-life author. Harriet Lerner is a perennial favorite!
Lucie Novak
I learnt a lot.
One of those books I recommend to patients.
Jo Rhett
This is a fantastic book that ignores hefty psych talk and gets down and dirty with the details of communication. Everyone should read this book.

Warning: she avoids needless details, but her advice won't spare you from hard work. To be able to communicate at this level, you must be able to face yourself and your own issues head on. This book is much much more about you than about the person you are trying to talk to, although she does a lot to help broaden your mind there too.

Amani Elsawah
This was an excellent book. I enjoyed reading it just as much as "the Dance of Anger". In this book, Dr. Lerner had a lot to say about marriage, divorce and what happens when people just refuse to talk or listen, or apologize. She had a lot of great advice and words of wisdom about human nature and relationships. Sometimes things don't work out the way we want them to, no matter how hard we try. The best we can do is let go and live our lives to the fullest, despite the hurt.
Heather
I love all of Harriet's books. This one talks about the fact that while we do have the option of fixing a problem in a relationship by ending the connection, we often don't want to or know that's not the best thing to do. This book validates the strong emotions we all feel inside a strained relationship, but also tells us how to navigate and handle ourselves and others with respect, and without disconnecting emotionally from the other person.
Margaret Zhang
As someone who's already read "The Dance of Anger", "The Dance of Intimacy", and "The Dance of Deception", many of the concepts in this book were quite redundant. However, because the concepts are so (!) good, practical, and practicable, I was grateful for all the reminders that I needed to hear! I recommend that you choose the first Lerner book you read wisely - pick the one that appeals most to you, because that one will be your favorite!
Dottie
Sparked perhaps by an underlying connection to an older book which has held a place in my personal library for many years, I picked this up and am finding it refreshing that there is no follow this plan and this happens or that happens -- again, an echo of the earlier book. None of the usual self-help "magic" solution style -- just informational and thought provoking. We shall see if it holds up to the end.
Rachel
Opened my mind to a whole new possibility of how I might change the way I interact with others in a positive, effective way—an attribute I find very rare in psychology/relationship type books. I now feel empowered in certain situations I was feeling helpless and powerless in. I started making changes the minute I finished reading. Hooray!
Elle
As with all of her books, Harriet calmly and clearly helps you to understand how to handle things in a simple clear concise fashion to communicate your goal in a time of criss. Now if only I could have Harriet there holding my hand during those moments! Of course, this is where practice comes in. Thanks Harriet for another fabulous book.
Nancy
a friend recommended this author, as she was sorting through some relationship issues. I liked this one best of the several Harriet Lerner books my library had. It's simple, honest, and helpful with lots of plausible examples of difficult communication in relationships(family, romantic, friends). Lots of food for thought and practical advice.
Kari
I was most interested in the aspects of this book that gave things to say in difficult conversations. I think it would be great to read this again with my own edition (instead of the library's) so that I could mark it up with notes and highlights, so that I could go back to use it as a reference during tough times.
Rebekah
I love the way Lerner rights, and this book is worth having in your personal self-help collection. This is the second time I've read this specific book, and the fourth of her books in all. Great reads for anyone struggling to find their voice, or wishing to learn how to communicate. Great for women.
Nancy
It seems as if we are seeing a maturing Harriet Learner. Her earlier books seemed to be focused on women's anger and their frustrations over intimacy. In this one, I think she is ready to bridge the gap. I guess we all had to process all the garbage first. Now we are moving on.
Jennifer
This book is about improving communication within difficult relationships - especially family members. For me, it was easy to read because it has lots of personal stories and examples. The concepts make sense, there are some good ideas - but it's not touted as a "cure-all".
John
This was an extraordinary book. Harriet speaks about how our words affect others. Making the connection to other, even those we love takes patience, perseverance and a great deal of self-awareness.
Thecat3786
Similar to her seminal book in its style with multiple case studies but I didn't find it as taking as profound a deconstruction of typical relationship dynamics as her first classic book on anger.
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Harriet Lerner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the second of two daughters. Her parents, Archie and Rose Goldhor, were both children of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. They were high school graduates who wanted their daughters to "be someone" at a time when women were only supposed to "find someone."

"Achievement was next to Godliness for my sister, Susan, and me." Harriet notes. "My f...more
More about Harriet Lerner...
The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships The Dance of Fear: Rising Above Anxiety, Fear, and Shame to Be Your Best and Bravest Self Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up The Dance of Deception: A Guide to Authenticity and Truth-Telling in Women's Relationships

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