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Create Empathy

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Building Rapport > Create Empathy

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

In order to build rapport and connect with others, seek to stimulate their empathy so they will naturally connect with you.

The basic way to gain empathetic connection with another is to display emotions that stimulate their emotions. This can include:

  • Displaying sadness to evoke pity and charity.
  • Showing happiness to raise their emotions.
  • Apologizing and explaining why you did something wrong so they understand and forgive.
  • Helping others so they feel they should help too.

You can also create reciprocal empathy by first listening to their problems and then telling them about your problems. Because you have empathized with them, they are now obliged to empathize with you. Be sensitive with this not to hi-jack their need for support. Show plenty of concern for them before talking about your own situation.

Example

I'm sorry, I'm a bit flat today. I wonder if you could help me out.

That's hilarious! Hahaha!! Come on, let's have some more fun.

That is so upsetting. You must feel awful. I had something like that happen to me recently...

Discussion

Empathy is believed to be caused by mirror neurons, where brain cells in the same part of other person's brain as yours are fired in sympathy. This even happens when you move, which is why effects like mirroring occur naturally. So when you display distress, the empathetic other person also feels your emotions and so understands and bonds with you.

Gaining empathetic connection by being upset can become a compulsive trap when people regularly use histrionics as a way of gaining attention and help from others. This can work for a little while, but the drain on the emotions of those who help is often so great that they start to dislike the histrionic person and avoid them wherever possible.

See also

Empathetic Language, Empathy, Emotions, Appeal to Pity

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