Coffee Corner Meet-up: When Empathizing is Difficult.
Update: Post-mortem on the Coffee Corner
I’ve been asked to do a coffee corner meet-up on empathy. I thought I’d lead a discussion on the difficulty of empathy, so we can begin a process of making progress on such situations.
As remote-work has become more commonplace, more and more people are having trouble empathizing with our fellow co-workers. We may still care about them, we may have a lot of compassion for them, and yet they may still be irritating or frustrating us in some ways, thus making it difficult for us to empathize with them, which ultimately makes it difficult for us to work with them.
If this is a topic that interests you, I invite you to come to the coffee corner, so we can discuss these challenges in human relationship.
More info on the topic: Realizing Empathy
Event date & time: Nov 13, 2020 04:30 PM in Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna
For a preview of how we’ll begin the discussion, please check out the video below:
My life is filled with instances where I had difficulty empathizing with someone at some point.
- I had a difficult time empathizing with my father until I was in my mid 30s.
- I had a difficult time empathizing with artists until I decided to go to art school (I was formally-trained as a computer scientist.)
- I had a difficult time empathizing with CEOs until I started to coach them.
- I had a difficult time empathizing with my friend until I learned how I had unintentionally hurt her.
- I had a difficult time empathizing with a team member until I learned how I came across intimidating to him.
The list goes on.
Child psychologist Dr. Lewis Lipsitt, whom I interviewed for my book, helped me realize that these struggles are natural and in fact critical to our development.
He told me that we mature when what we once assumed to know takes on more subtlety and nuance, thus changes in meaning.
For example, a book we read at the age of 10 will take on more subtlety and nuance thus change in its meaning when we read it at the age of 30, provided that we have matured. People we assume to know as our “parents” in our 20s will take on more subtlety and nuance thus change in their meaning when we get to know them when we are at the age of 50.
For all the instances I had listed above when I had difficult empathizing with people, it wasn’t until the meaning of the relationship or the situation I was in with them changed that I was able to empathize with them. They helped me mature, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
with warmth and gratitude,