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Columbia University
JOUR W3100

Dalton Knight COM 112 Cynthia Zuckerman Hyman August 3, 2012 Final Paper Have you ever had a problem that needed discussing? Most likely, you would go to a relative or close friend for help or advice regarding your issue. Sometimes, another person's insight or understanding on your feelings can be helpful in feeling better about your problem, or even solving the problem. Being able to understand other people's thoughts and feelings, or “putting yourself in his or her shoes”, is called empathy, and it plays a key role in maintaining good communication in many situations. Suppose your grandmother had just died. Chances are, you would not look for empathy from someone who has never suffered from a loss of a close relative, because they would be unable to be empathetic to your problem and your emotions regarding that problem. Being able to empathize with someone's thoughts and feelings can be very important to being a successful communicator.As I was thinking of an aspect of communication that I could work on, I found that I am not very able to empathize with people regarding their emotions, unless I have directly experienced the situation that brings about their emotion and feelings. To become a more successful communicator, I would like to be able to empathize with other people regarding their problems, and the thoughts and feelings that follow those problems. I often find myself in communication situations that involve some sort of story that requires emotional investment, which warrants replies that reflect my thoughts on the speaker's feelings. I always find it difficult to invest myself emotionally to a story that I was not a part of, and therefore, have trouble caring about the problem at all. This is true with my coworkers, acquaintances, and even my close friends and family. I would not consider myself to devoid of emotion or “heartless”, I simply find it hard to empathize with other people's problems, because I have difficulties with becoming emotionally invested in a brand new thing. I am often emotionally invested to problems and situations that originated while I was present, or at least knowledgeable of, but to hear an entirely new problem to me and to be able empathize with the person or persons dealing with the problem is almost impossible to me. I believe the problem may start at the very beginning of the conversation. I have noticed that I often assess how interested I am in a topic of conversation as the conversation is beginning, and pay attention to it accordingly. If I find that I can easily understand and relate to the problem being discussed, I will most likely pay more attention to the speaker than if I am disinterested in the problem, or feel that I could effectively benefit the conversation. I often find myself in conversations that require responses to people's emotion issues, and I often respond with nothing of value to the speaker; rather, I just respond with prope
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