Empathic listening Empathic listening is interpreting a message as if you were in those person’s shoes. You have to feel the same emotions they are in order to get a complete understanding of a situation. I have found that this style of listening is quite often the easiest for me to take part in because I love to view things from other people’s perspectives because it gives me a better understanding of my own. I feel like practicing it is the best way to enhance this type of listening, so I have decided to use empathic listening with my two room mates this week just to gain views through there perspective.
My roommates are complete opposites, but we all get along. One of my roommates Jesse is an open book and wants to tell you everything and expects you to view things his way. In Jesse’s opinion his way is the right way. My other roommate Nick is the complete opposite because he is quiet, respectful, and listens more than he speaks. For this exercise I made sure that I was aware I was practicing empathic listening all week, because I would set a reminder on my cell phone to “make sure to practice empathic listening with your room mates. I did this becomes it often becomes difficult sometimes to always use empathic listening because on occasion I don’t care what either has to say. I decided to practice on Jesse first. The important conversation this week was Jesse’s girl friend issues. He felt that she didn’t respect his space, and he was tired of always being tied down, but he didn’t know how to tell her. I used the silence strategy and head nods because I know all Jesse really wanted was to be heard. I would say things like “well if I was in your shoes man I feel like the best way to address this situation is to do something that keeps your mind off of it. I would then paraphrase his conversation and say things like “so what your saying is you just want some alone time to be able to do what you want, how can she not respect that? ” I would agree with him and say “I see where you are coming from man, she is always breathing down your neck, a guy needs some alone time. ” He liked my constant agreeing and felt as if I understood exactly where he was coming from. I refrained from speaking a lot because I wanted him to be able to feel like he was letting all of his emotions out and I was just there for an understanding ear.
I would nod and agree with head gestures until Jesse felt content that he had said all that he needed. Listening to Jesse talk about his girl troubles was easy to relate to and use empathic listening because I have been in the situation where I thought that my girl friend was being too clingy as well. I Knew that what he really wanted was just someone to listen and agree with him, so that’s exactly what I did. My next empathic listening strategy was a conflict between my self and my other roommate Nick. This came out of the blue because nick never calls me out on anything.
He pulled me aside and said “I feel as if you don’t do your part of the deal when it comes to the house chores because the trash bag is never taken out and that is your responsibility. ” I knew that nick was upset and I showed motor mimicry with disgust with my self. I just asked, “is there anything else that I can improve on because I understand that you are upset and would like to hear it. ” He just said, “I’m not here to bash you man I just really like an up kept house and feel as if you don’t respect that. I let him ramble about instances where I had been disrespectful and just nodded. I then agreed that “so you think I am being too dirt, well I agree and will work on being more responsible I appreciate this talk. I felt using empathic listening allowed nick to vent on an issue that had really been bothering him and I was glad we were able to have that talk. Practicing this empathic listening exercise was not too difficult because I like to view things from other peoples view points, especially people I care about.
These conversations were not very different from any other conversation we had because usually my friends come to me with their problems because I am very empathetic. The most difficult part was to not interrupt when they were talking because I like to say how I feel. This has taught me that you learn a lot more about what some one is saying if you just actually let them speak. My roommates responded well to the empathetic listening exercise because they just like to be heard.
I would say that the interaction was very positive and successful because both felt as if I cared what they had to say, and saw it from their perspective. The interactions weren’t all that different because I usually am able to be the guy who listens to what they have to say. I have always used this listening strategy, and will always use it because I whole-heartedly believe that it is the most effective. After I was finished with the empathic listening exercise I explained to my roommates that it had happened and they liked it.
They thought that we could all communicate better if we were all a little more empathetic. We all agreed that we should be able to come talk to one another with our problems in our life, even if it was with each other. Since then Jesse has confronted his girl friend about his problem and apparently she didn’t use the empathic listening style because she only saw things from her view and broke up with him, Also since then I have engaged in being more clean and taking out the trash. I love how when you communicate effectively everything in life flows a lot better.