Do you have simpatico?

This has been a tough week for me, as my closest male friend passed away unexpectedly. Truthfully the experience has taken me on a whirlwind of emotions. Many of them I didn’t expect to have, but each one of them had a purpose. Or, so I’ve been told by others who have had more experience with grieving.

There was one word which my friend and I discovered and agreed upon that embodied the definition of our friendship. A friendship that lasted over forty years. Some of those decades we were not as close, but the last decade made up for this. We learned to trust one another, and rely upon one another for advice and as a shoulder for support. More importantly, to celebrate the various achievements in each of our lives. The word is simpatico.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word simpatico hails from the Greek language and noun sympatheia, and which means sympathy. Three other languages (e.g., English, Italian and Spanish) adopted this word. The definition of the word simpatico is predominantly used as a descriptive word to characterize people who are well-liked or easy to get along with. The second half of the definition is what resonated with us.

Have you had the opportunity either personally or professionally to meet one or more people you have had simpatico with? If you had, I’m sure thinking about this makes your heart feel special. Consider yourself fortunate if you have had more than one person in your life that you had this type of relationship with. It’s a true gift.

Often in the work I do with people and teams, I discuss how challenging it can be for some people to get along with others. For them to figure out how to insert themselves into a conversation, into a group or perhaps what signs to look for that would signal entry points to do so.

If you have simpatico with someone, the flow of information exchange you have with them is fluid and never awkward. In fact, most conversations are exhilarating, and you can’t wait to talk to that person again. Naturally you might have variations of this experience with other people, but when you truly are able to get along with someone at the simpatico level, I treat this as a special experience worth preserving.

You have heard about the theory that animals are adept at determining when they encounter humans, how they know which ones are genuine and would be fond of them. It’s similar to having a sixth sense. Some humans have this same capacity, and sometimes the ones who have it, do not exercise it. Or, perhaps may not be attuned to knowing they do. However, most that are fortunate to have it, understand they do.

I think about having the ability to get along with others as a multi-faceted technique. Part of this has to do with picking up on others body language and knowing how to read it appropriately. Sometimes reading body language can be tricky, as people will do their best to mask emotions they might not want you to see. For example, if they are disappointed or angry with you, or someone else, they might not want to broadcast this to others. However, most of the time people do not mask their physical body emotions well.

Why don’t people mask their emotions well? One of the reasons is because your body is trying to protect you to return to a more balanced state of emotions. When our emotions are trending in a negative direction, our physical body will sometimes override the way our neuro systems want us to portray ourselves. In other words, being calm and alert. Part of this is based on a survival instinct to keep us safe.

Returning to other contributing ways people who are skilled at getting along with others is based on pure instinct, as well as some of the following contributing factors:

  • Practicing how to get along with others is a real thing. Those who have mastered it may have had an early advantage of being able to know how to do so instinctively, but they have also put an effort into becoming good at it.
  • Honing one’s communication skills is critical to being able to get along with others. What do you do on a regular basis to increase your skills in this area?
  • Not everyone is as empathetic as you might want them to be. However, you can also practice trying to be more empathetic. In fact, there are companies who have developed software to teach nurses how to become more sympathetic. This is done using artificial intelligence avatars which allow them to practice this skill, and be rated on how well they are achieving being sympathetic, or empathetic.
  • Consider the last time you did something nice for someone. Committing to doing one nice thing for someone else on a daily basis will contribute to increasing both your karma bank account, but genuinely make the recipient feel special.
  • People who have an ability to bring joy into others lives also score points in the area of skill which factors into how they are able to get along well with others. Bringing joy to others could be in the form of making them laugh, simply being polite and showing them respect, and sharing skills you have with them and teaching them about the skill you have (e.g., how to sing, draw, perform complex data analysis).

I have been told that as time passes by, the sting of my heart being broken will subside. However, I understand I can take comfort in knowing I was fortunate to have known someone that I was able to experience simpatico with. In fact, this will be a sustainable tribute to this person. This is the greatest legacy from our friendship which will help me to get through my moments of sadness. May you someday have a friend in your life that you have simpatico with too.

#Life #Grief #Grieving #Simpatico #Friendship

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