“He said, She said”


Tip 1 – Empathy; Practice Online*
Tip 2 – Assertiveness; Practice Online
Tip 3 – Respect; Practice Online

Tip 1 – Empathy; Practice Online

Empathy is a dying art, yet it is the most powerful tool in every relationship; there is no better way to soothe and comfort an increasingly tense moment with another person.  We all want to feel understood and accepted for how and who we are, to provide that understanding is an act of selflessness.  Sacrifice your opinion for the time being for the good of the relationship. Empathy, immediately changes the climate of the room; it allows your partner to relax, and not to become defensive.

The skill of empathy takes practice, I find it is good to practice online, answering an email that may seem to be edgy; you are not sure what the emotion behind the words are.  Practice responding with Thought EmpathyParaphrase the other person’s words, and Feeling EmpathyAcknowledge how the other person is probably feeling based on what he/she said.  Then move to InquiryAsk a gentle, probing question to learn more about what the other person is thinking and feeling.

We don’t realize that the real issue in any relationship is not who is right or wrong, rather; do you understand me and accept me.  We understand ourselves through the lens of how other people react to us.  Each of us are in constant monitoring of how others are responding to us, this gives us evidence of acceptance or rejection, very profound emotions.  If we are regularly met with what we think are responses of rejection, our self-esteem, mood and even our mental health is in jeopardy.

What would happen if you responded empathetically, “Gee, I can tell when…… xyz…… happened, it really bothered you (Thought Empathy). You must be feeling frustrated, abandoned, and even a little angry.” (Feeling Empathy) Follow up with a gentle question to help define more about what they are feeling, “Are you feeling  angry, or maybe disappointed in how I handled that?” (Inquiry)  This is where the magic happens, as your partner responds with feelings and explaining them to you, they are feeling more and more understood and accepted for how they think.  Remember, this is about helping them feel understood, not if you agree or disagree with their point of view, that can be gently introduced to the discussion as it progresses

(Tip 2, coming up next week!)


Friends Before Lovers