When it comes to difficult conversations, we’re often focused on what divides us. We are acutely aware of the ways in which we are different from one another. After all, that’s probably what makes the conversation difficult! But if we’re able to balance that difference with commonalities, we’ll have a better chance at easing the conflict. Our question this episode: how does empathy help move us towards a deeper understanding of one another?
This is a continuing exploration of the 4 Keys to More Civil Conversations. Last week, we looked at humility. This week, we’re going to take a closer look at empathy: what it means, if we can cultivate it, and the role it plays in difficult conversations.
Resources for Further Learning*
Empathy | Psychology Today
Three Kinds of Empathy | Daniel Goleman
Empathy (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series)
5 Ways to Cultivate Empathy for Others | Happify.com
Empathy: College students don’t have as much as they used to | University of Michigan
Ep07: Grace Judson, Empathy in Conversations
The Little Boy and the Old Man | Shel Silverstein | A Light in the Attic
Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.
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