Start from a place of empathy
Communication is vital in all relationships, and the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way most of us interact with one another. Social distancing and face masks have reduced face-to-face communication. The volatile political climate also adds to the levels of fear and stress that we’ve experienced over the past year.
Empathy is the ability to understand, share, and relate to another person’s feelings, and it’s essential whether you are talking to a family member, spouse, or friend. When it comes to disagreements over COVID restrictions, it’s necessary to make an effort to understand their views. You don’t have to try and convince them that you’re right- just try and understand where they’re coming from.
Tensions have been running high this past year, especially when we’re confined with the same people in close quarters for months on end. Our first instinct is usually to become defensive during any conflict, justify our actions, or get into a yelling match.
As tempting as these responses are, they typically make situations worse and add another layer of stress. If you feel those types of reactions coming on, it’s important to take a few minutes to breathe and center yourself. If you’re having trouble communicating with empathy and need tips to help, consider talking to a professional.