How Do You Make Others Feel? A Critical Way to Improve Relationships and Interactions
Have you ever stopped to think about how you make other people feel? Whether it’s a loved one or a difficult colleague, do they feel better or worse after interacting with you?
Do they feel heard? Smart? Empowered? Understood? Validated? Respected? Capable? Valued? Appreciated?
It’s a challenge we often overlook. We get caught up in our busy lives, distractions, and our own needs, and we don’t always consider how our words and behavior affect those around us. But let’s take a moment to reflect on a few situations.
How often do you offer advice instead of asking for it? Offering advice can make us feel helpful, smart, and capable of fixing problems. But sometimes, it can also make the other person feel inadequate or that we don’t think they are capable. However, when we ask for their ideas to help with our problems, we show trust, respect, and empowerment. This holds true even with our kids. They want to feel included and that their ideas matter.
How often do you judge or criticize instead of showing curiosity? It may be subtle, but the underlying message is clear – disapproval or disagreement. The other person may feel defensive, disconnected, or misunderstood. They are less likely to share their ideas, mistakes, challenges, or feelings with you in the future. You may feel like you were in the “right.” The other person needed correction, maybe even discipline. But what if they’re already feeling bad? Instead of dragging them down further, maybe you can help them find the learning or growth.
Our survival instinct pushes us to look smart and capable in front of others. It wants us to appear strong. However, by helping others feel this way, we can boost their self-worth and mood.
You might be wondering what their feelings have to do with your happiness. But here’s what I’ve learned – how we make others feel is one of the biggest ways we influence their mood. And their mood can easily impact our own mood. It’s like emotional contagion, where emotions can spread from person to person. But it doesn’t stop there – the way we make others feel also impacts the effectiveness of our communication, the strength of our connections, and the quality of our overall relationships.
Pick a couple of people in your life, and this week, see if your interactions can make them feel even better than usual.