How to Show Empathy

Topics: Emotion, Feeling, Nonverbal communication Pages: 7 (1012 words) Published: December 30, 2013
How to Show Empathy: 7 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

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How to Show Empathy
You are talking to someone, and suddenly he/she tells you something emotional, such as "I just lost my job." How do you respond? Respond with empathy, and you will greatly improve your relationship with the other person. But respond as if you do not really care, you could ruin the relationship. Empathy, literally "in feeling", is the capability to appreciate, understand, and accept another person's emotions.[1] Showing empathy genuinely is one of the most important interpersonal skills that anyone must master.

Steps

1

Listen attentively to what the other person is saying. This will allow you to absorb what they say and be able to respond appropriately. Eliminate distractions: put

down the book you're reading, turn off the TV, etc. Focus all your attention to what the other person says. Pay attention not only to the words spoken, but also to the way these words are communicated (tone, inflection, mannerism, etc).

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Let your body language convey empathy. Maintain close (but not too close) proximity. Establish comfortable eye contact. Maintain good body posture. Don't

fidget or do other things that show disinterest, but rather direct 100% of your attention toward the other person.

3

Reflect upon what the other person just said. Reflecting upon what the other person said helps to show that you are understanding and interpreting what is

said, give the other person a chance to elaborate further on the feelings being experienced, and demonstrate your concern for the other person. Say something like "Sorry to hear you just lost your job; I see this is upsetting to you," "you look a little sad right now," and "this is hard to talk about."

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Validate the other's emotions; immediately agree with what the other person just said. Validating, or justifying, the other person's emotions helps to convey

your acceptance and respect for the feelings the other person is experiencing. For example, "I can understand why you would be upset under these circumstances," or "anyone would find this difficult," or "anyone would have felt the same way," or "your reactions are totally normal."

5

Offer personal support. Offering personal support goes beyond words to enhance rapport by letting the other person know that you want to help. E.g. "I

want to help in any way I can; please let me know what I can do to help."

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Engage the other person in a partnership. A sense of partnership helps the other person to feel that he/she can be part of the solution, and that you are willing

to be there to help. E.g. "Let us work this out together." "After we talk a little more, perhaps we can work out some solutions that may help."

7

Show respect whenever possible. Showing respect by focusing on the positive aspects further enhances rapport and fosters effective coping skills. For example,

"Despite your feeling so bad, you are still coping so well. That is quite an accomplishment. I am very impressed by how well you are coping with the uncertainty." Ad

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Tips
Most people don't want or expect you to come up with a solution to their problem. Mostly people are just seeking someone who understands. Both nonverbal and verbal...
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