How to Ask For Empathy

Learn how to get emotional support when you need help by clearly communicating what you want from them so they can provide you with what you need.

When we confront and accuse decision makes of hurting us they misinterpret this as a criticism of their decision. It’s not. We just want to be acknowledged for our contributions to that decision: our pain and suffering. Clearly communicate this distinction so you receive less resistance to your message and ask.


Example 1 How to Ask for Empathy

Bob hurt you. You go to talk to Tom about it.

* Be clear with what you want: Ask them to listen ONLY and to not comment.

* Ask them to experience the story with you

* Ask them specifically for empathy so they know what’s going on.


What you want

you want empathy

you want them to listen to you ONLy. Don’t Comment.

you want them to experience the story with you


What they want

they want to help you feel better


What you feel

you feel unburdened when you start telling your story and sharing your thoughts and feelings.


What they feel


upset that

1. you are upset and went through this negative experience

2. they want to help you avoid this experience in the future

3. the want to make a difference

4. they want you to feel better


ACTIONS that they take are

1. tell you to feel better

2. discount your emotions

3. give you advice


Offensive to the person hearing it. 

* shows that you’re not engaged in the story



Example 2

Bob hurt you. You confront Bob about it.



What you want

* Bob to acknowledge that he hurt you. Apologize

* be careful about wanting to hurt him back. AVOID THIS.

* Outcome?? Is he listens, and then we move on.

OR he listens, and then we decide together on how to move on.


What they want

* They don’t want to have this conversation

* They want to be happy


What you feel


Hopeful that this will be resolved


What they feel


afraid over what’s going to happen next

Calm them down by communicating the outcome that you want.

Hopeful that this will be resolved


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