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Understanding other people's emotions and

being able to navigate them successfully helps you to

connect with others, build positive relationships  and feel confident and happy in social situations. 


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According to the

smart people that

came up with




When talking to someone else you can be in 1 of 3 positions and you can switch perspectives at anytime.

1) My View

I can only see, hear, feel from my own perspective and world view - for some people this is where they sit most of the time


2) Other's View

I am able to step into another's situation and understand their needs and concerns and imagine what it is like to be them. You step out of your own mental map.

3) Independent view
I can get in an independent position where I am a detached observer noticing what’s happening from all perspectives. You step back and get the bigger picture

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Read each statement as though the other person is saying this to you. Which response most communicates your attempt to view the issue from the 2nd position?


1. ‘I’ve got something I want to say but I don’t know how to say it’

•Would it help if we went for a walk?

•You want to talk but it is difficult to get started.

•Well if I don’t know what it is, I can’t help you can I?

2. ‘Every time I try to get to sleep, I can’t because I’m scared of getting nightmares’

•You could try sleeping with the light on

•You’re anxious every night because you don’t want your nightmares back

•You are not a kid


3. ‘ Couldn’t she see I wanted to get past. Then I ended up in trouble and she got away with it.’

•Let’s be honest. Most of the time it is your fault, isn’t it?

•You’re angry about getting into trouble for something that didn’t seem like your fault?

•Calm down. I’m not going to listen if you’re shouting

4. ‘For weeks the doctor has been telling me that everything is OK and now he says it looks like I’m seriously ill. 

•It won’t help to get upset. These days they can cure anything. You need a few days away to take your mind off things

•Doctor sounds clueless, no wonder you’re upset. You should go and speak to someone who knows what they are doing

•You sound angry about the way you’ve been treated and I can understand why you’re upset. One moment they say that everything is all right and then everything changes and you don’t know what is going to happen.


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Some people find the

2nd position super

easy and for others

it is like travelling

to another planet.


Try practicing with someone you know ...

  • Pay attention to the other person and try to understand them and their 'reality' and communicate it back to them.

  • Accept what they say in a non-judgemental way.

  • Try and put your view of the world aside and think of how things might look from their point of view. 

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Imagine going for a job interview or having a review with your tutor or a discussion with a family member.


  1. Imagine a 30 second movie of the meeting from your perspective, now describe the meeting in one word.

  2. Imagine yourself as the other person in the 2nd position, then replay the movie. In one word, describe the meeting from the other person's perspective.

  3. Imagine you’re an independent (invisible) observer in 3rd position, and now replay the movie. Are the participants showing the same or different behaviours? How is each affecting the atmosphere of the meeting (For example, are they both being aggressive, friendly, respectful or is one being friendly and the other unfriendly, or is one being aggressive and the other passive?)

  4. Then, go back to the 2nd position and play the movie again from the other person's perspective.


Has anything changed?

What you could do to improve the meeting, then play the movie in 1st position again, with your improvements.

Now what’s changed?

Source: Michael Beale NLP guru

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