Why “I Understand How You Feel” isn’t a great empathy statement.

By Nancy Friedman. Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. If I could, I would eliminate this phrase from customer service. There is simply no way on G-Ds green earth one person can understand the feelings of others. We can sympathize, but as an empathy statement. Watch this: You can say: “Gee, I’ve never had that experience.” You can say: “That has got to be very frustrating.” You can say: “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling.” You can say: “I’ve had that experience and agree, it’s frustrating.” But you cannot/should not say: “I understand how you feel.” TRUE STORY At my dads funeral, a friend came up to me and said, “Oh I’m so sorry Nancy, I know how you feel.” I said, “Myrna, your dad is sitting right over there . . . how can you know how I feel?” And even if she had lost her dad, each of our feelings are so different. It’s just not a great statement when trying to say, “I’ve been there too.” Use the positive alternatives shown in our video blog.

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