Welcome to this issue of "Dr. T's Timely Tips" by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Please send your feedback to info@alessandra.com!

Listen With Empathy

No matter how outrageous, inconsiderate, false, self-centered, or pompous the person you are talking to is, remember: He or she is simply trying to survive, just like you. We are all participating in the same physical and psychological struggle. Some of us just have better survival strategies than others. Thus, the obnoxious person deserves more pity than scorn. "The wounded deer leaps highest," Emily Dickinson wrote, and it is true.

So listening with empathy means asking yourself, "Where is this person's anger coming from?" "What is he or she asking for?" "What can I do that's reasonable and supportive?" You are not everyone's shrink, and you do not have to carry the weight of the world on your back. However, if you can think through what makes this person behave like this, perhaps you will be inclined to cut them a little slack.

Genuinely listening well is, at its heart, an act of love, and as such, may help heal.

Here's to more personal insight,


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Listen closely; Listen empathetically

When participating in a conversation - be it heated, friendly, or awkward - make sure you ask yourself questions to make sure you understand the other person fully.

Here are some sample questions to get you started:
"Where is this person's anger coming from?"
"What is this person asking for?"
"What can I do that is both reasonable and supportive?"

Listening empathically will help you better understand the other person. Your interaction will go smoothly, and you will both get what you want out of the conversation.

Wondering if your listening skills are up to par? Take the Listening Assessment and find out how you can be a better listener, and improve all of your communication!

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