LISTENING SKILL 2 : EMPATHY
Empathy means that you try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand what they are thinking (Called ”thought empathy”) and feeling (called ” feeling empathy”) Thought and feeling empathy are crucial to practically any conversation.
Thought empathy: Repeat out loud what the other person is saying so they will know you got the point. You can ask a question to see if you got it right. Let’s assume your lover has been acting distant and he says,” I feel our relationship has no real future. There’s too much of an age difference .” Reflect it back to him in a quiet manner.” No real future? Apparently you feel the age gap is too great. Can you tell me about how you feel about this? Don’t say this sarcastically of defensively . Try to convey a spirit of genuine curiosity . Your goal is to understand where he is coming from and not to argue or stare your own point of view . Instead, you mirror what he is saying in nonjudgmental way so as to grasp the essance of what he is feeling .
This strategy will enable you to develop a much sharper understanding of his minf-set. Try to grasp the meaning behind the words.
Feeling empathy: Once you have paraphrased what the other person saod, acknowledge the feelings he or she might have and ask a question to see if you are reading his or her emotions correctly .
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