How To Be There For Someone And Convey Empathy
There are two ways in which we generally try to be there for someone. We either relate to their feelings call empathy or we provide some instrumental support.
When it comes to empathy, we can show it by recognizing the feelings the other person is experiencing. For example, if we notice that a friend is angry, we can say “You feel angry right now.” Phrases like this one can show the other person that we noticed how they are feeling and it’s not something we’re avoiding.
A basic phrase typically used in therapeutic counseling is “You feel [label the emotion] here, because (insert the reason leading the emotion)” to empathize with the client. This phrase may seem awkward to say to others especially stranger, but its impact is real. If you hit the correct emotion(s), it really does convey empathy.
A few other empathic conversation leads (in bold) follow by examples are:
1. From your point of view, you’re extremely upset because of how things are turning out.
2. It seems to you that things aren’t going the way you wanted it to be and that makes you frustrated.
3. In your experience, you feel angry at yourself because you let your own guards down and you didn’t expect to be disappointed.
4. As you see it, everything around you irritates you at the moment because nothing seems to make you happy.
5. I really hear you saying that you rather just give up, because of how disappointed you are!
6. You mean like an unsettling feeling because things aren’t going well for you? (in a gentle tone)
7. You’re overjoyed because all your hard work has paid off.
8. Correct me if I’m wrong, but deep down inside you’re really unhappy.
9. I sense that you’re feeling lost.
10. You must have felt disappointed because of how hard you’ve worked and nothing really came out of it.
There are a lot more empathic conversation leads, and you’re always free to use which ever. The key is to show the other person that you can sense what they’re feeling so they feel understood and are not alone.
Disclaimer: I’m a psychology student not a actual therapist or graduate student, so take this with a grain of salt. But I really personally found this useful and I want to share it!
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