Listen Up, Literally – The Better Newsletter #26


A woman in a Tongue Fu! workshop told our group that her friend had recently gotten laid off. She tried to commiserate by saying “I know just how you feel,” and started to tell her about the time she lost her job.

Her friend fired back, “You do NOT know how I feel.”

Has something like this ever happened to you? You tried to cheer someone up and it backfired?

That’s because unhappy people don’t want advice, they want empathy.

Alfred Adler said, “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.”

Next time someone’s feeling down, offer support instead of solutions. And whatever you do, don’t try to comfort people with “I know just how you feel.”

Instead, follow the ACTION advice below.


Next time someone is unhappy, try this…

  • Imagine how they feel.
    i.e. Your partner gets home from work frustrated & complaining

  • Reflect what they say.
    i.e. “No one appreciates me,” ask, “You feel no one appreciates you?”

    They’ll probably come back with a heartfelt, “YEAH. I’ve worked overtime the past few days and no one ever noticed or cared.”

  • Articulate what they wish for.
    i.e. “So you wish people noticed you put in a lot of hours to get this project done on time?”

This creates connections instead of contempt.

Until next time… Here’s to being better.

Sam Horn

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  • Want to Share Your Story/Suggestion With Sam Horn?

    Do you have a real-life example you'd like to share of how you deal with difficult people - without becoming one yourself? A story of how you've learned to think on your feet and handle challenging situations in the moment? I'd love to hear it, along with any other sensitive, stressful situations you suggest I include in my work on Talking on Eggshells? With your permission, we may share it with readers and audiences so they can benefit from your insights and lessons-learned.
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