by Guest Author

Trust in our relationships is at an all time low. The problem is that in
order to build trust, we have to know how to understand one another – we
have to be stellar at empathy. I wonder, if you added “empathy” to your
LinkedIn skills right now, how many people would endorse you for it?

Empathy, especially for men, can be a hard sell. It sounds too “warm and
fuzzy.” But there’s plenty of scientific research supporting an effort to
do it right. Strong empathy skills are
related to better marriages, less crime, and more loyal business customers.

How strong is your empathy muscle? Take this quick quiz to gain some

Wherever you are on the empathy scale today, the good news is that you can
get better. Empathy is a social skill – the more you use it the stronger it
gets. Before we get to the nuts and bolts of empathy, let me clarify what
empathy has to do with building trust. In the first part of this series we
discovered that humans crave control in
their relationships. We’re always trying to size up our
colleagues and partners to figure out if we can truly trust them.

Enter Empathy.

Remember the last time you thought someone really understood you and how
you felt? Chances are they were skillful empathizers. It’s also probably
the case that you felt more comfortable with them and likely trusted them

Before we jump into ways to improve our empathy, let’s get a better read on
where you are in your relationships today. Try this:

*When you’re with your significant other or a close friend next time, focus
on doing the following two things:*

  1. *Ask questions, don’t assume you know. *We’re not mind readers and
    most of us don’t guess very well. When you’re listening to a story, ask
    questions to clarify meaning: “Do you mean _?”

  2. *Listen for feelings. *Focus on tone of voice and look for subtle
    expressions of sadness, excitement, or frustration. The most important
    thing is to be looking – then follow up with #1, by asking with loads of
    curiosity: “Are you feeling __?”

Practice this for at least 10-minutes a day for the next week and stay
tuned for the last installment in this series. We’ll jump into the science
of empathy and why it’s so powerful.

*If you think your spouse “just doesn’t have a clue” about how you feel or
lacks the empathy muscle all together, send them my way:* *request a free
15-minute phone consultation*

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