Friends Show Empathy with Friends. How to Grow a Friend: Step Six.
Friendship: Friends show empathy.
Reciprocal confidences deepen any relationship. Ideally those confidences are received with empathy. Empathy is identifying with another’s feelings. It is seeing life through his/her eyes.
How can you communicate empathy?
Listen with empathy. Lean closer to your friend and frown, smile, or cry appropriately.
Touching your friend also shows empathy.
By your physical presence and/or the gift of your time. At times just sitting with someone communicates empathy.
By your body language and facial expressions.
By your words. Say directly, "That hurts me," or "I’m happy for you."
Paraphrasing often shows that you are in touch with your friend’s feelings.
Your tone of voice is as important as the words you use. A sad tone is slow and quiet. A happy tone is faster and louder.
If you felt certain of a caring, empathetic response to a confidence, you would rarely hesitate to confide. However, when you are not certain of the response, you may find yourself teetering on the brink of intimate disclosures:
"Should I risk saying this or not?"
"Should I reveal this part of myself?"
"Can I trust my friend not to use my disclosure to hurt me in the future?"
Your uncertainty is probably because the other person has not revealed enough personally to make his or her response predictable. You are not sure if your disclosure will be received with empathy, indifference, or even ridicule.
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