I was recently coaching a client who wanted desperately to rebuild a relationship with with a key person in his life. At some point we got on to the topic of empathy, and how important empathy is for relationships. After I’d explained a little about what empathy is, he blurted out, “But I don’t really like him, so how can I empathize?”
Empathy is the capacity for finding common ground around emotional experiences.
Empathy can be developed. Although liking someone helps, it’s not required. All that’s required is you care enough to do the work and take the risk.