Exercise – Receiving Empathically?

To see whether we are in agreement about the verbal expression of empathy, please circle the number in front of each statement in which person B is responding empathically to what is going on within Person A.

1. Person A: How could I do something so stupid?
Person B: Nobody is perfect; you’re too hard on yourself.

2. Person A: If you ask me, we ought to ship all these immigrants back to where they came from.
Person B: Do you really think that would solve anything?

3. Person A: You aren’t God!
Person B: Are you feeling frustrated because you would like me to admit that there can be other ways of interpreting this matter?

4. Person A: I think that you take me for granted. I wonder how you would manage without me.
Person B: That’s not true! I don’t take you for granted.

5. Person A: How could you say a thing like that to me?
Person B: Are you feeling hurt because I said that?

6. Person A: I’m furious with my husband. He’s never around when I need him.
Person B: You think he should be around more than he is?

7. Person A: I’m disgusted with how heavy I’m getting.
Person B: Perhaps jogging would help.

8. Person A: I’ve been a nervous wreck planning for my daughter’s wedding. Her fiancé’s family is not helping. About every day they change their minds about the kind of wedding they would like.
Person B: So you’re feeling nervous about how to make arrangements and would appreciate it if your future in-laws could be more aware of the complications their indecision creates for you?

9. Person A: When my relatives come without letting me know ahead of time, I feel invaded. It reminds me of how my parents used to disregard my needs and would plan things for me.
Person B: I know how you feel. I used to feel that way too.

10. Person A: I’m disappointed with your performance. I would have liked your department to double your production last month.
Person B: I understand that you are disappointed, but we have had many absences due to illness.