Empathy/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on October 14, 2018


Ever have a bad day? We all have such days. How about a bad week? That too is familiar to many of us. How about a difficult few months? That is what happens to people who are in a crisis-mode. The reason for this bad stretch might be personal problems, medical issues, financial setbacks, etc. We try to be more understanding about people in such situations. The conflicts that give, e.g. divorce,its jagged edges, is no less a reason for a person’s inability to be their very best. Mediators need to understand this in working with the parties. They are simply not their usual selves during such charged periods. The parties themselves need to be cognizant of this factor in behavior that can be less than stellar. Understanding why someone may be acting out or “out of sorts” puts empathy where it belongs; i.e. in the mediation process. This might be one situation where judging another person “favorably” is a both wise and realistic. Try to place the empathy factor squarely into the mediation process. It likely will pay off with a resolution that is fair to all sides. Mediate don’t litigate.