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• Empathy is a nonnegotiable ingredient in genuine, connected interactions, and one easy way to create it is to give compliments. Make it authentic, meaningful to the person receiving it and specific, Avoid insincere exaggeration or vague niceties that don’t speak to a person’s values.
• Learn to recognize “bids for attention” because when you “turn toward” these unspoken requests for connection and validation, you deepen and strengthen relationships of all kinds, and respond with empathy. Turning against or away from these requests does the opposite.
• Practice the art of nonviolent communication by using four simple steps: first, observe without judgment or interpretation. Second, express how you feel without blame or making anyone responsible. Third, express your needs plainly and assertively, without implicating the other person. Finally, calmly express a specific request that stems from the previous three steps, without entitlement or force. This will make any difficult or emotional conversation infinitely easier.
• Use language softeners. Softer language can help foster trust, empathy, and likeability in all social situations. Use modal verbs and qualifiers, focus on the positive, be mindful of your word choice and use a gentler, more respectful and unhurried style to communicate a friendly willingness to cooperate.
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