During the Winter term, I went to a feast event in Toronto on empathy which was hosted by ThoughtWorker @melgorka. At the event, we talked about empathy and how it important it is in the tech industry and others. The most memorable exercise involved listing the bad qualities of people you despise and reasoning about them.

Recently, I have been annoyed with certain people so I think redoing this exercise will help blow off some steam.

What I see

1. Self-absorbed
2. Untrustworthy
3. Melodramatic
4. Inconsiderate
5. Self-righteous
6. Mooch
7. Schadenfreude

What they may see

1. Busy with their own lives
2. Poor organization
3. Overwhelmed
4. Unaware of situation
5. Unaware of other perspectives
6. Needs help
7. Curious about other people’s lives

The opposite of what I see

1. Humble
2. Reliable
3. Calm
4. Thoughtful
5. Understanding
6. Generous
7. Supportive

I feel less angry now 🙂

Empathy is such an important skill to have as a human being. Although it’s not as attainable as say, learning to ride a bike, empathy can be acquired through much practice and thought. Being at a predominantly math and engineering school, I have come across a lot of students who lack empathy. They are studious and academically bright, but they struggle to deal with interpersonal problems. This is problematic when everyone is dealing with stress and anxiety to some extent. People often feel afraid and even embarrassed to reach out for help or confront a problem.

Unless you’re in a psychology class, it’s unlikely that you will be taught about empathy. I don’t get graded on empathy. I don’t hear my professors get excited about it either. How am I supposed to care? It’s not a skill companies look for! It sucks that empathy is taking a backseat in the minds of students – in education, an institution that peddles collaboration. Nonetheless, you can still become more empathetic. Take the time to listen, share, and understand everything around you. Empathy is more than an apology or reassurance.

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  • I like this idea! Maybe I should give it a try sometime? I’ve been thinking a lot about my past friends or rather my group of friends that dropped me one by one. However, I think it was due to the fact that I didn’t have a car, and an illness. I think they felt superior because their families vouched for them. Whereas; I had two family members, and only two family members. My dad, and my grandmother. Yet, they couldn’t understand why I didn’t have a car or a license. Also, I kept wondering why they dropped me as a friend. But now, I can care less. All I wish them is nothing but happiness. But I definitely need to try this out. Maybe it’ll help me with my stress. I also think that doing this will ease up a LOT of tension in this house as well. Thanks for sharing this!!!

    • It’s really tough losing friends – you start to question yourself and wonder if something was wrong with you. Most of the time, it’s too awkward or inappropriate to confront them directly i.e. get closure. Thinking about what their perspective would be definitely helps!

      I hope this exercise helps too 🙂 It’s a good way to unleash profanity as well 😛

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