The Anatomy Framework
Stage One: Patterns emerge (see yellow boxes)
As soon as we meet someone, we form patterns of interaction around themes that are salient to us—like success, loss, control. These themes direct our attention and help us make sense of the other’s actions and our own reactions.
Stage Two: Patterns turn into informal structures (see orange boxes)
Over time our interpretations of each other turn into more stable frames—repetitious ways of seeing each other. These interlocking frames reinforce each other’s actions and reactions, turning patterns into a more enduring structure.
Stage Three: Informal structures adapt or die (see maroon boxes)
We redesign our contexts—roles, geography, time—to handle the structure created in stage two, and we either reinforce or revise our behavioral repertoires to handle “people like this.” The more distance our contexts create, and the more we reinforce our repertoire, the less likely the relationship will adapt and the more likely it will die.