They say that social workers and other government employees need to invest in developing empathy skills. But the truth is, everybody needs this kind of training. Telling someone that you feel him or her may seem easy.
However, sincerity is what counts. It’s all about putting yourself in someone’s shoes. It definitely humanizes any negotiation, conversation or transaction.
You don’t have to be the person that you are empathizing with. You just need to understand his or her situation. And once you accomplish this mission, you can literally feel tension and stress evaporating out of thin air.
The trick? Don’t be mechanical about it or jaded. There’s also no need to be maudlin or shed tears–unless it happens naturally beyond your control. Listening is a big part it, but definitely not passive listening.
As humans, we are hardwired to yearn for empathy from our peers. In fact, it is what makes us human. Use it well, and with the best of intentions.