Why we should all stop saying “I know exactly how you feel”!

“Recently, I had a long conversation with a friend who was going through a divorce. We spent almost 40 minutes on the phone, and I barely said a word. At the end of our call, she said, “Thank you for your advice. You’ve really helped me work some things out.”

The truth is, I hadn’t offered any advice. Most of what I said was a version of “That sounds tough. I’m sorry this is happening to you.” She didn’t need advice or stories from me. She just needed to be heard.”(1)

“When someone tells you “I know how you feel,” it might seem like a nice, empathetic gesture. However, from a psychological point of view, it’s not always the best choice. (might be invalidating their feelings) .The truth is that you can’t fully understand what another person is going through. Consequently, it’s always better just to listen and let them know they have your support.” (2)


1-From the book “We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter” by Celeste Headlee
2-Psychologist Valeria Sabater