Practical ways of showing empathy
Since empathy isn’t a natural-born talent, I thought it might be helpful to share some practical ways of expressing empathy.
This is just a partial list as there are countless ways to empathize depending on the person and situation. (Have a favorite? Drop a comment with your go-to empathy practice!)
> Giving a hug
> Asking questions out of curiosity
> Acknowledging their pain and frustration with a phrase like:
- “I’m so sorry — that really sucks.”
- “I’m here to listen to you, cry with you, or distract you if you prefer.”
- “I’m thinking about you.”
- “You’re not alone.”
- “I know I haven’t experienced this personally, but I can imagine how hard it must be.”
- “You can be real with me — how’re you feeling today?”
- “It’s okay not to be okay.”
> Sending a postcard/email/text to let them know they’re on your mind
> Giving a tangible gift (e.g. flowers, fruit basket, cookies, gift card to their favorite place, something silly to make them smile, etc.)
Special thanks to @mariandrew for inspiring for this post with her illustration on Instagram.