Empathy In Communication, Really?
For all the women reading this, hands up to all those that don’t get enough empathy, in a relationship, from their men?
I know my wife will be raising her hand on this one :)
And you know why?
Because I’m built to help and the by-product of that is always looking for a solution. Hey, what can I say, that’s who I am.
And it was a great reminder for me when she told me ‘If I wanted a solution, I’d ask for one’.
OK, my mind was recalling the same thing I’ve heard a number of times before.
Women are highly conversant when it comes to comforting.
This comes into play when speaking to other women and I just plain slipped my memory.
So the solution since I’m a guy
Needed to drop that one in :)
However, the solution, from a man’s point of view, is to be more aware of empathy signals.
Something to remember is there’s a difference between empathy and sympathy.
Empathy is feeling what somebody else feels through them whilst sympathy is feeling what somebody else feels through you..
Want an example for you better understand?
Jane: I just got fired …
Bill: Wow, babe … you’ll be fine. I got fired before and there’s always work somewhere for talented people like us.
Jane: I just got fired …
Bill: Wow, babe … you must be feeling pretty scared right now.
Do you get the picture, guys?
If your wife is always angry at you, maybe it’s because you’re simply not listening to what it is she wants to hear.
Empathy is all about keeping the focus on the other person AND allowing Jane to continue to vent on whatever is bugging her. Bill needs to be there, listen, shut his mouth with any sort of solution until Jane has finished venting.
And once this has finished, Bill will also have a much clearer and fuller understanding of the situation too.
It’s Tough to be Empathic
As a man and, historically, I’ve worked in technical and management situations, my brain is wired for the delivery of solutions.
When I’m presented with a person’s roadblock, my brain instinctively jumps into solution mode.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the best course of action to take when dealing with a woman when she needs to vent.
Is all this a Weakness?
You know, when my wife Vicki first raised ‘Empathy’, my immediate thought was why would I be bothered to be empathic when I have a solution right on the tip of my tongue.
This was a waste of time.
Lo and behold, it isn’t a weakness.
It’s a process for her to feel safe and secure so comfort can roll into a solution – and a solution when she feels it’s the right time to move forward.
And add to this, I confused empathy with sympathy too.
When you guys are in a conversation with your lady and she’s venting with you, listen, be empathic, and feel through the venting THROUGH them, not you.
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