This is a powerful proactive skill if you can be in this consciousness when answering back. As I was taught from the old country, answer a question with a question, YET we will fine tune this old saying.
Answer a question with empathy if you think the other person is in resentment, anger, or retaliation mode. The speaker will probably calm down quickly. It may take a few empathy guesses, yet empathy has been such an effective peacemaker in my communications. An empathy guess is guessing the person’s emotions or needs. With an intense situation , guess the needs first. This may look like “Are you wanting ______________.”
Once I saw an irate man at a upscale hotel and he was “screaming” at the manager. I heard him say to her, “Are you stupid?”
Me: I went over to him and said, “Sir”
Him: “What do you want?” he said to me with quite a bit of intensity.
Me: I understand that you would like to be understood (the need) for how difficult this situation is for you? (So, I didn’t tell him my impression of what I I was thinking.) I was seeing him as a human being and guessed what he was wanting..
Him: “yeah” calmly.
It took one empathy guess for him to transform from a stressed, high blood pressure human being to a calm, peaceful person.
He just needed to be heard and understood .
After the conversation was completed peacefully, he asked me if I wanted to work for his company.
The Tip and Exercise:
When you hear a question with intensity from another or maybe laced with blaming, shame, or guilt, instead of answering directly, offer an empathy guess.
1: Why do you talk so much? Me: Are you wanting to be heard (need)?
2: How could you forget to pick up the cleaning? Me: I understand that you would enjoy more dependability?
3: Why don’t you call me anymore? Me: Are you needing understanding why I don’t call you.
Hint : For ease and learning this skill, try visualizing and practicing different situations before you try it for real. A needs/values list may be found at the website below.