All human interaction comes down to two fundamental principles: listening and responding. Listening in this case can mean the receiving and interpretation of any stimuli coming from the other person and the environment around you. Responding is any method of reaction (or non-reaction) you have to that situation.
When we argue, we are missing a key component of one (or both) of the two fundamental principles – we are lacking empathy.
- The empathetic listener understands that we all want to be heard, and believe our opinions to be correct, even if they are merely opinions.
- The empathetic responder, who will know that sometimes what we say and how we act can be misinterpreted, will carefully select the method in which a response is given.
It isn’t that empathy means neglecting your own viewpoint – it’s only accepting that someone else may have a different one and acknowledging its value.