More generally, in situations with our families, romantic partners, or even work colleagues, how can we practice empathy?
One approach, based on John and Julie Gottman’s long-term research with married couples, involves 4 steps that anyone can take to understand another’s perspective. Yes, you can use this even when your romantic partner or in-law or business colleague seems to be weaving webs of insult, devising deceptions, or making outrageous observations. Indeed, what they mean is not likely what it seems at first. Our job – as people who aspire to communicate skillfully – is to work compassionately to understand them.