! Without a column · January 16, 2024

Three types of empathy: what is the difference and how to master them

Usually we talk about empathy as a single quality, implying the ability to empathize with people. But psychologists distinguish three types of sympathy. They are important in human interaction, and each of them can be learned.

We often hear that the world lack empathy, you probably noticed its lack. The leader cannot find a common language with the team and vice versa. Husbands and wives do not understand each other, parents forgot what it means to be a teenager, the children do not see how they care about them. We complain that people are not considered our opinion and feelings, but we do the same.

On the one hand, to understand what the rest feel and why they act in a certain way, time and effort are needed. We do not particularly strive to waste resources for everyone. In addition, it is not easy to show sympathy, even if you want.

On the other hand, we must learn, otherwise we risk ruining relationships. The habit of clinging to shortcomings develops into a mental and emotional confrontation. Everyone holds the enemy under the sight, the problems are preserved, and there is no hope for reconciliation. If someone decides to show sympathy, a vicious circle will break. A person who was understood most often reciprocates and takes a step towards. What a result? Confidential relations have been created, where both sides are ready to believe each other and forgive the mistakes.

What is it and how to develop?

Empathy is described in different ways, depends on who to ask. Most will agree with the definition: “Empathy is the ability to understand and separate thoughts or feelings of others.”. To feel and show it, it is not necessary to worry the same as the rest. This means the desire to better understand people, to visit their place.

Psychologists Daniel GOLMAN and Paul Ekman distinguish three types of this ability.

Cognitive empathy – the ability to understand what people feel and why they think so. Thanks to her, we become excellent negotiators, because we can submit information so that it is perceived by others.

Emotional empathy (or affective) – the ability to transfer other people’s feelings. Some describe it like this: “Your pain in my heart”. It helps mental rapprochement.

Compassionate empathy (or empathic care) – more than understanding others and sharing their feelings. She forces act, help with all her might.

How the types of empathy work?

Suppose a friend recently lost one of his relatives. A natural reaction can be the field, pity or sorrow. You will want to express condolences, and a friend will most likely be grateful. But, as we recall, empathy needs time and effort.

It all starts with cognitive empathy: we imagine that he had to endure. Whom he lost? How close they were? He recognized the pain of loss how his life will change now? Thanks to emotional empathy, you can not only understand, but also divide the feelings of a friend. Some of your part knows what deep sorrow is and how painful it is. You probably remember how hard it is to lose loved ones or imagine how you would feel if it happened.

Compassionate empathy leads to action. You can take up cooking so that a friend does not think about it. Make the necessary calls or help the household. Or maybe you will just stay nearby or, if a friend wants to be left alone, look after his children.

There is only one visual example of empathy, but every

day brings new opportunities for the development of this ability. In fact, every contact with others is a chance to accept a different point of view, share someone’s feelings and help.

We develop cognitive empathy

We are talking about reasonable assumptions. Often we incorrectly interpret gestures and facial expressions. A smile can mean not only joy or pleasure, but also sadness.

If you want to find a common language with people, remember what is known about them, and try to find out even more. But the interpretation of someone else’s mood, behavior or thinking is always built on your experience and involuntary prejudices. Intuition often fails, do not rush to conclusions. After the conversation, find a minute and consider the response of the interlocutor: what he wrote or said what his movements were. Over time, you can recognize not only the state and nature of others, but also how they perceive your thoughts and the manner of communication.

Learning emotional empathy

This requires effort. After all, the goal is to be imbued with the feelings of another, to reach a deep level of mutual understanding. Listen carefully to those who talk about problems. Hold the desire to evaluate people or situations, interrupt, share experience, offer solutions. Instead, focus on the desire to figure out how he feels and why exactly. You need to give yourself time to think. When you understand that a person is experiencing, put yourself in his place. Ask yourself: “Whether there was something similar with me?”