What Is An Empathy Buddy?
[caption id="attachment_2457" align="alignright" width="300"]
Get A Male Empathy Buddy[/caption]
An empathy buddy is a great way to receive some non-judgmental emotional support from another person, without having to spend big dollars on therapy. They can be particularly valuable if you:
- Have difficulty identifying or expressing your feelings or needs
- Feel isolated and in need of connection
- Don't trust other men to treat your feelings with respect
- Need ongoing emotional support
An empathy buddy isn't a replacement for a therapist; if you have emotional wounds from the past that are causing you fear or anxiety in your day-to-day life, get a therapist. But if you're looking for another way to expand your emotional vocabulary, reduce your emotional isolation or manage feelings of shame you may have about your emotions, an empathy buddy can be a great way to do it.
The idea is to have a buddy who listens to where you're at without judging you and occasionally reflects back how you're feeling and what your needs are. I suggest talking to your empathy buddy on a regular basis, such as every week or fortnight. Like any relationship, it may take a little while to feel fully comfortable with your empathy buddy, but following the guidelines below will help you build trust and rapport together more quickly.
The idea of an empathy buddy comes from the Non-Violent Communication (NVC) community. NVC is a style of communication developed by Marshall Rosenberg with the aim that everyone can get their needs met by communicating feelings and needs clearly and directly. Showing empathy is also a core skill for relating to other people so it's a great thing to learn and practice in its own right.
Having an empathy buddy gives you a safe environment to explore feelings that may otherwise undermine your self-confidence, since your buddy gives you permission to feel how you feel without telling you that you're wrong or should be different. I believe that healing unresolved feelings, especially when there is shame involved, requires us to connect to another consciousness; and an empathy buddy can help us do just that.
This is powerful stuff. (more…)