I Know How You Feel

I Know How You Feel

I know how you feel.

Of all phrases this is definitely one of my least favourite. This is why I don't know how you feel:

  • Even if I've gone through what I think is the exact same experience you have, we've experienced it differently because we are different people. It's OK for us to experience things differently, and feel differently about them. I don't know every intimate thing about you, your relationships and how you experience things, so how could I possibly assume I know how you feel?
  • Responding to how someone feels with 'I know how you feel' implies that their feelings are only important and valid once I understand them. I don't need to understand exactly how you feel for it to be real for you, or to express care, concern and compassion. The important thing isn't necessarily that we relate, but that I can offer you friendship and kindness when you need it (regardless of whether or not I know how you feel).
  • 'I know how you feel' can also be heard as 'I get it already, you don't need to elaborate'. It may not be what I mean, but it's easy for it to be heard as an indication that I don't want to listen further.  
  • Sometimes, I don't even understand how I feel! Truly.  

What would YOU say instead of 'I know how you feel'? 


Also Read:
Why You Should Never Say 'I Know How You Feel'
And a philosophical exploration of empathy: The Paradox of Empathy