The ability to empathize—to connect with someone by sharing some of their emotional load—is a quality many caring people share. Empathetic people instinctively feel what others feel, and make thoughtful gestures based on that understanding.
“I start by thinking, ‘What does everybody need today?’ If I can do one gesture, it could make your day a lot better. That’s where I get my greatest joy.”
“Since I was a little kid I’ve felt all of the things. My sister
would fall and I would cry. There are people you feel connected with,
and I work to keep that relationship alive. If I notice
someone’s going through a tough time. I’ll let them know I’m thinking
about them, and they don’t have to go through this alone.”
“I use a lot of empathy in my job because I’m an editorial director for Hallmark greetings. I am constantly trying to think about how people connect and how to make people feel special…whether
it’s letting someone know you care, giving them a compliment, or even
just acknowledging an important date that’s coming up.”
Tip: Empathy Exercise
Try this exercise in empathy when someone close to you is going through a difficult or stressful time:
- Think through what you know about their days.
- Can you make parts of it easier by offering to run errands or take on to-dos? Offer to do a specific thing to help.
- Are you aware of times they could particularly use encouragement? Send a text or drop off a card.
- Could they use a sympathetic ear or a soft shoulder at the end of the day? Invite them out to dinner or schedule a phone call.