The Empathy Meter Experience

A Way to See the Affect of Response Statements

Empathy is one of the most challenging parts of Nonviolent Communication to teach. I wanted to come up with a way for people to practice empathy responses. The empathy meter shows my guess as to how it would feel to receive that response. The way I came up with the numbers and emotions is I used the emotional scales to assign a number from 1 to 22 to the emotion the person making the original statement is feeling. I used my own emotion I would be experiencing if I were making that statement. I also added an intensity component to help clarify the feeling. The goal is to guess which statements will help the person feel better. You will probably notice many of the statements which are commonly used, might lead to the person feeling worse. Emotions 1 (Joy) ⇒ 7 (Contentment) are positive emotions. 8 (Boredom) ⇒ 13 (Doubt) are the milder negative emotions. The stronger negative emotions are 14 (Worry) ⇒ 20 (Jealousy), mostly outward directed. The strongest negative emotions are 21 (Guilt) & 22 (Depression) which are inner directed. Following is an abbreviated list:

  • 1 = Joy/Knowledge/Empowerment/Freedom/Love/Appreciation
  • 5 = Optimism
  • 8 = Boredom
  • 12 = Disappointment
  • 15 = Blame
  • 19 = Hatred/Rage
  • 22 = Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

Everything we do in life is with the hope that we will feel better in the doing of it, No exceptions! Frequently what we do is not very likely to lead to feeling better. Even more often what we say to help someone else feel better only leads to them feeling worse. The best way to learn something is to practice and get feedback. When airplanes came about if the feedback was crashing, sometimes the loss of life and property was a fairly costly form of feedback. Flight simulators were developed to provide a safe place to practice dangerous situations such as the loss of an engine.

Flight Simulator
Flight Simulator circa 1933

I have developed the Empathy Meter as a place where you can try something much more dangerous than piloting an airplane, human relationships. Take it for a spin. The Empathy Meter

Empathy Meter

Screenshot of the Empathy Meter circa 2015
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