How To Make People Feel They've Been Understood

Sometimes, someone might say to you something which you completely disagree with! 

Say, for example, that someone is very angry about the new company policy (which you actually support!). In this case, the best way to let the person calm down would be to listen to him and make him feel understood. You don't want to tell the other person "You're completely wrong, I like the company policy!" because that would just aggravate him further. You want to show him you understand his arguments, but you don't want to agree with him just for the sake of calming him down. 

For example...

Your friend says: I hate this new company policy, and the management is just implementing it because they're trying to screw us over. I don't think I should have to work overtime to clean up someone else's mess.

Your Reply: I hear that you're frustrated with the new policy, and you think it's unfair because you don't feel that you should have to work overtime. 

Notice that in this scenario, you've simply reflected back what the person is saying. You've acknowledged that you understand what the other person is saying, but you haven't admitted that he has a point. 

Reflecting back is a great technique for making people feel understood. When you make people feel understood, it helps them let go of their negative emotions. So, if you get into a fight with a friend/spouse/colleague, be sure to reflect back what he/she is saying ("I hear that you feel I haven't been giving you the attention you deserve and that makes you feel..."). When you do this, the other person feels understood and finds it easier to let go of their negative emotions. 

After you've reflected back what the person is saying, you can go on and add your own opinion ("I know that's how you feel, but I assure you that I never meant to make you feel that way..."). 

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