A blog dedicated to NVC Lifestyle Design

& other cool stuff!



NVC Idea No. 3 Empathy Buddies

by wayne ~ September 25th, 2018. Filed under: News.

“Importance of Empathy Buddies”
A very important  relationship we can set up in our NVC Practice is a supportive empathy buddy or buddies.  These are people that can be at the same level / stage as us and want to really learn NVC and get the empathy support that allows us to connect with and transform jackals that come up from day to day experiences.

In my early days of learning NVC a very good friend of mine, who first introduced me to the work of Marshall Rosenberg, became my first empathy buddy.  We both really wanted to understand and get effective at using NVC so we would meet at least once a week sometimes more and watch the Making Life Wonderful DVD series.  We would sit in his garage / office and watch 10 to 15 minutes of Marshall working with someone. Then we would spend up to an hour discussing what was going on then go back and watch that bit again.  It was such an effective way to engage with and understand the process.

We also decided to be empathy support to each other.  It would go something like this.  I would be having a tough time of it with the kids and getting totally wound up, so I would ring him and say “Needing Empathy”  His reply would be either “Giraffe Ears on” which meant he was in a space to give some support. I would have a good ole uncensored download and he would guess at my feelings and needs.  Sometimes this call would be 10 minutes long and enough to take the fizz out of my bottle, sometimes an hour long.

Then at other times I would ring and say “Needing Empathy” and the reply might be “Giraffe Ears are off, ring back in an hour.”  Then I would do some self empathy and ring him in an hour.  Our own designed code words and empathy offering went both ways so we could support each other to grow and loosen the internal knots that get in the way of our everyday connection to life.

That was 12 years ago and over the past 12 years, I have had a number of empathy buddies and still do to this day.  I have a few guidelines for setting up an empathy buddy they are:

  • Set up a set time each week, fortnight that you can connect up either in person, by phone, Skype, FaceTime etc and stick to those times.  Maybe for a start choose the 6 minute empathy practice process if you know it or set up a time frame.
  • Avoid making it to conversational at first, do your best to stick to the basics so they become ingrained.
  • Have a list of what to avoid and make it okay to point out to each other when these things happen.  Example are advice giving, collusion, launching into you own old story and sympathising.
  • Make some time with an NVC Trainer or get to a practice group to get distinctions and get questions answered that come up.
  • Make mistakes okay and its okay to risk and have a go at something different.  This supports the learning environment you set up.
  • Make sure all that is shared stays confidential to the two of you.
  • Set up a 20 minute practice process, 40 minute and 60 minute then you don’t spend lots of time working out how its going to work and do the drills.
  • Have fun and celebrate when you have been going for a few weeks or more.

The empathy buddies I have set up over the years have developed into wonderful, connected and trusting friendships that have supported a growing community of friends that are there for me and me for them.

Ways to find empathy buddies are:

  • Attend local practice groups
  • Contact NVC Trainers and local supporters of the work and ask if they can put you in touch with people who may want to learn and practice
  • Attend workshops
  • Ask friends who think may be into learning about empathy and NVC


Comments are closed.