The ability to be understanding is one of the psychological faculties that has made us capable of living in society. For the same reason that each person has his or her own personality, it is necessary to put some effort into adapting to the points of view of others in order to connect with them.
In this article we’ll look at several key ideas about how to be understanding , and how they can be applied in our everyday lives.
How to be supportive: 8 tips
From the moment that human beings live in society, it is necessary for each individual to adapt to the needs and characteristics of those with whom they live. This process always entails a certain level of sacrifice, but we can ensure that this effort is not in vain and serves to relate better to others not only in theory but also in practice.
1. Think about each other’s priorities
To be more understanding it is necessary to take into account the scale of values and needs that move the person we are talking to. Regardless of whether we agree with this way of establishing priorities, it is necessary to understand their point of view in order to take the first steps of dialogue and consensus.
2. Be patient
If everyone thought like us, communication would be incredibly fluid and fast… but also boring and uninspiring. That is why being understanding implies having the necessary patience to leave room for the approach of positions, for mutual understanding , which by definition cannot happen in a matter of fractions of a second, but involves a whole process.
3. Practice active listening
The time to listen is very important, and not only because it allows us to start thinking like our interlocutors, but also because it is a way to encourage dialogue and collaboration. That is why we must strengthen it by getting involved in active listening, which has to do with all the verbal and non-verbal elements that indicate that we are listening . Make brief comments, look into the eyes, nod… small details that make a difference.
4. Do not ridicule
Some people take advantage of any situation where there is a disagreement with their interlocutor to try to ridicule him. This may seem like a relief to the person who is doing it (at the expense of the other), but it does not serve any more than that, and instead has many negative effects. Among them is the fact that it makes mutual understanding much more difficult.
5. Shows interest in her emotions
Many times, we do not really understand the other until we know his feelings and, in general, that irrational part of him that leads him to act . But this is something that not everyone is willing to share with others at the first sign of change. So you have to show that your point of view is respected and that you can speak freely without fear of being judged.
6. Provides opportunities for redemption
Sometimes, what keeps us apart from another person is the fact that he feels guilty and therefore believes that he can only continue on the path of confrontation , since in the past he has done things that would be considered clearly bad if that confrontation did not exist.
So it is important to give opportunities to redeem oneself in a subtle way, without it being noticed that it is a kind of “ritual”.
For example, assume in part that something has been done that has harmed the other person, even if that is not true, so that that person feels good about making the apparent sacrifice of forgiving us. In that way it is possible for him to feel that his faults have been atoned for . But a balance must be struck so that no precedent is set where any grievance can be resolved too easily.
7. Think about the consequences of what you do
Every time you do something that affects another person, think beyond what that change means to you. You have to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see, for example, if it makes their situation worse , something that is possible if until that moment we hadn’t stopped to consider what it means for them to actively or passively participate in what we have modified.
8. Consider the influence of context
Naturally, human beings tend to believe that a person is what he chooses to be, just like that. The phenomenon described by the Just World theory, for example, is a case in point. However, this is false, since the environment influences us greatly.
Therefore, in order to be more understanding, we must take into account that the individual is the product of his decisions but also of the circumstances in which he has lived.
- Coller, N. (2018). A tortoise, a hare and a mosquito . Valencia: Nau Llibres.
- Goleman, D. (2006). Social Intelligence . New York: Bantam Books.
- Strauss, N. (2015). The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships . New York: William Morrow.