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16 Habits Of Empathetic People

16 Habits Of Empathetic People

Empathetic people aren’t always that easy to find – we’re those rare foil-wrapped Lindt truffles, smooth on the outside and gooey in the center. So how d’you spot an empathetic person from a mile off? Here are 16 habits to help you find these shining jewels among the crowd – because they are very worth finding.

1. They overspend on presents

The most empathetic of us trawl the internet for the perfect gift to light up birthdays everywhere. That expensive lawn mower that we can’t really afford for Mum, that newest of the cool gadgets Dad wanted, the signed Britney CD for our best friend (who is slightly stuck in the past…) Because as empathasisers, we don’t just feel others’ pain, we feel their pleasure.

2. They overthink

Because we are always stuck in the shoes of other people, looking through the eyes of those around us, we can be rather harsh on ourselves and overthink things. We’retoonice. Sometimes we take it too hard when we are criticized and are too keen to please. We should be better to ourselves and stop caring quite so much about what other people think.

3. They’re mega affectionate on social media

Do you have that one friend who likesevery singlephoto, status, blog post and whatever else you throw at the internet? I know, we’re like an army of like-happy stalkers, all over your Instagram, your Facebook, your Twitter – we even endorse you on LinkedIn. Because we know how it feels when no one likes our stuff and we love you far too much to let that happen.

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4. They never bail

You have plans? You’ve been looking forward to that fat burger at Five Guys all day? Never fear, we may have trying headaches and an early start tomorrow but we will be there, because we hate how it feels to be let down and we refuse to be the cause of that in our friends.

5. They’re great bakers

When you’re down in the dumps, we get our oven mitts on, because we know all you need is a moist slice of cakey goodness to get you back on your feet. We’ve perfected the art of Oreo brownies and we know your favorite desserts by heart.

6. They’re great in the sack

We’re great at romance and we like to know what makes you tick. We’ll always treat you well and we’re always aware of just how much fun you’rereallyhaving. You want generosity? Check in with an empie.

7. They always use their pleases and thank yous

You barrel into us on the street and knock our bags out of our hands? We’ll probably be the ones to apologize first. And when someone thanks us, our instinct is not ‘you’re welcome’, but a ‘thank you’ right back (we know it makes no sense, it’s just hardwired into our niceness…) We’re uber polite, perhaps too polite, but our parents taught us our manners and we stick to them.

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8. They’ll always leave you the last Malteser

If you know any empathisers in your life, treat them to the last biscuit in the barrel, the last donut, the last Revel (even if it is that shriveled chocolate raisin). Because empiesalways, without fail,give out the last goodie to anyone else who will take it. Because it makes us happier to make your day than to indulge ourselves.

9. They love animals

If we see a golden retriever on the train or find a cat in a car park, we will love that little fur ball as if we have known the critter our whole life. Lock your pets away because we might just steal them (except we would feel your loss and return said creature immediately, before the cycle started all over again).

10. Theyalwaysfeel guilty

We didn’t text you back, we forgot about an appointment and wasted the doctor’s much-sought-after time, we dropped the ball on the most high-profile project of the year at the office – it all cuts us like a knife. Because we don’t just feel our own pain, we take the bullet for the whole building.

11. They’re big on comfort eating

Empathisers really appreciate a good tasty treat, because we’re so aware of the comfort it gives us. And man, when the boyfriend dumps us in Zizzi’s or our boss demotes us for photocopying our unmentionables, boy do we hit Ben and Jerry’s hard. Because it makes us feel so damn good.

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12. They sometimes cry in bathrooms

Empathisers are always there for you, but rarely ask for that support to be returned. We’re so attuned to others that we jump to aid anyone who is upset, which means that we often expect others to have the same intuition. Which often leads to lonely emotional outpourings in public toilets.

13. They couldn’t harm a fly

Literally. Empies are even sensitive to insects and no matter how many nightmares we have about that hairy eight-legged monster in the corner of the bedroom, we willnotdestroy. We’ll cup-and-paper it if we’re feeling brave, but mostly, we’ll just pretend it doesn’t exist. And when our cat brings in a half dead mouse? The pet ambulance is here – we’ll race down the road to the nearest vet and if that mouse can be saved, we’ll make damn sure that it is.

14. They are experts in all things tea-related

White, with two sugars, lukewarm? Half a dash of milk and one sweetener? We’ve got your back. We remember how much you love your cuppa and we do not disappoint with those warming leaves of glory. Which makes us the very best of hosts – no need to grin and bear it, your empie friend knows how you feel before you do and has used their magical empathetic skills to suss you out.

15. They give great hugs

None of those reserved bodies-barely-touching hugs from us empies – full on close cuddles are our forte. We’ll get all up in your grill and invade your personal space, because that’s where we know we belong.

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16. They stick like glue

You’ll never get rid of an empie once you’ve befriended them. You can have the biggest row and your empie will forgive you immediately – because we know what you’re really feeling, what the fight is really about, and we couldn’t possibly hold it against you when you’re in such emotional distress over the loss of poor Mr Flops, the cutest, most loyal bunny in the country. So kick and scream but you can’t get rid of us that easily – we’ll just hug you into submission for years to come.

Featured photo credit: Flikr, John Remy via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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