«Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.» Dale Carnegie

What if there were a magical phrase that would stop arguments, create positive interactions, and make the other person listen to you attentively? Well there is. We can say, “I don’t blame you at all for feeling the way you do. If I were you, I would undoubtedly feel the same way.” The great thing about this phrase is that we can say it and be 100% sincere, because if we were the other person, faced with her situation, problems, needs, desires, etc., we would indeed see things just as she does.

If someone feels negatively toward us, once we begin apologizing and sympathizing with their point of view, they will begin apologizing and sympathizing with our point of view. Everyone wants to feel understood and have their troubles and opinions recognized. Use this to turn hostility into friendliness.

Next time you approach a disagreement with someone, take a moment to imagine yourself in their shoes. If you were that person:

  • What sort of pressures would you be working under?
  • What would your goals and priorities be?
  • What sort of relationships do you have with the other people involved?

Show the other person that you genuinely understand their perspective, by saying things like, “I completely understand why you see it that way,” or, “I know it would be helpful for you if …”