Friday, October 31, 2014

Why Empathy And Not Answers Will Improve Your Relationships

We’ve all had those moments. Someone comes up to you with all sorts of pain or confusion in their life and they want to tell you their story. On our best days, we listen attentively, make good eye contact, and stay connected as they talk. After listening, we weigh in. We might share our experiences or a bit of the pain we are carrying around ourselves. Sometimes, this is just what the doctor ordered. Someone needs direction, we give it, and life works well. We feel good about the good we have done, and we go on about out day. The only problem is that the person who has just shared their heart may not feel as good about the exchange. Here is one relational tip that will save you tons of frustration in the weeks to come:

Don’t give anyone direction or advice unless they specifically ask for it.

Most people come to us seeking empathy not answers. They want to believe that someone cares, or they just may need a safe place to process their thoughts. Giving direction and advice when it isn’t asked for ends up badly for everyone. Relationship runs on connection, not correction. There are times for clear answers and direction, but clarify that before you unload. If you can follow this one piece of advice, your relationships will become must healthier over time, and much more enjoyable as well!

Photo Courtesy of Death To The Stock Photo

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