“I hate my boss! He’s complaining all the time and he doesn’t get at all how much energy I have put into the project!”
– “Hmm…..are you frustrated, because you’re needing recognition for your work?”
When I want to connect with other people empathically I don’t pretend to know how they are feeling, even if I might have an assumption. Instead I ask them how they are and what they are needing – I am assuming.
My assumption is an empathic one when my goal is to really see the other one in his feelings and needs and not give my own evaluation of the situation. And an t assumption is best made in the form of a question rather than a statement. This way I am not asserting that my assumption is correct. The other one can still say: “No! I am furious, because he went on vacation for a week in the final month of the project and I had to do his work as well!”
With an empathic assumption I can help people identify their feelings and needs. Often enough we don’t exactly know how we feel and we know even less what we might need.
You don’t get points for assuming correctly, this is not what it’s about. When I am assuming empathically I am showing an interest in the other person. And often a “wrong” assumption leads to the other one’s finding out on their own what he really needs.