Hit me with your best shot (of empathy)
August 20, 2012 by
Categories: Couple, Research

Here at CI, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of empathy. Here’s some recent research to back it up. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Bryn Mawr College examined empathy in 156 couples. In particular they were interested if people needed to be accurate in their attempts at empathy  (i.e., really know how their partner was feeling) in order to see relationship benefits.

Image by irum

There were several interesting findings. First, just attempting to empathize with your partner is more strongly linked to relationship satisfaction than getting it right. There were also some differences between men and women. Men needed to be able to read their partner’s positive emotions more accurately to feel more satisfied in their relationship. Women, on the other hand, needed their partner to read their negative emotions to feel more satisfaction. Also, if women were able to read their husband’s negative emotions, both they and their husbands were more satisfied.

The bottom line? Just try to empathize. Even if you don’t get it right, both you and your partner will be happier for it.

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