Have you noticed that since lockdown you are having more conversations with strangers, from a safe distance of course?
It’s as if we are not only craving conversation but are being generally kinder towards each other, one of the bonuses from this situation.

However whether we are conversing with strangers or people we know well, how empathic are you?

The definition of empathy is “the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into other person feelings” (Collins Concise English dictionary).

Why is empathy important?  The answer is understanding, it has been said “that being understood is like being loved”.  And we all need this in these times.

Communicating empathically is both a cognitive and a gut reaction.  At times we may have to work a bit harder to really understand a person and to “get out of our own way”.

So what qualities do we need for empathic communication?

· Attentive listening

· Being non-judgemental

· Observing

· Being in the other persons shoes

· Reflecting

· Mirroring body language

· Sensitivity

· Intuition

· Caring—on others needs rather than own

Being empathic transforms:

  • Blame (it’s your fault)
  • Criticism (that’s not just good enough)
  • Labels (lazy)
  • Insults (you stupid idiot)
  • Threats (if you don’t I will..)
  • Self-diminishment (putting ourselves down)
  • Guilt, depression, anger ,shame

As our communication changes with others here’s a chance to be even more empathic to benefit not only the other person but ourselves too.