AEE 1147: I Get That – How to Identify with Someone Who Is Struggling in English

If you have a friend who is struggling with something, what can you say to let them know that you understand?

Do you search for the words to say in English when it comes to relating to somebody?

Do you want to know how to show empathy or similarities in English?

We’re going to look at how to highlight these similarities, and also how to say this in just the right words so that you fully support the person and make them feel better.

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Hello Lindsay and Michelle

My name is Lyn, and I’ve just subscribed to the weekly transcripts. After listening to episode 1108, I’ve got a couple of questions. I’m wondering if I can get help from you.

In a recent episode Michelle said, “I can identify with you,” does it exactly mean “I agree with you”?

I’m hoping you can help me.

Thank you very much!

Breaking Down This Type of Identification

Does the phrase “I can identify with you” mean to agree with someone?

No, it’s not really about agreement, but rather about having a similar life experience to that person.

This is about sharing that life experience with the other person and showing those similarities.

It may be about showing empathy or somehow highlighting those similarities.

Empathy and the ability to relate is very important when it comes to conversation and to connections of course.

Demonstrating Those Similarities

We have done episodes on empathy before but this is a bit different.

This is about showing how to relate to somebody and even demonstrate that empathy.

Saying “I can identify with you” means they can feel something because they have a similar experience or understand you in some unique and pertinent way.

A shared experience helps to connect the two of you and allows you to show empathy.

What Else Can You Say?

How else can you do this?

Why is it important to work through this detail?

This sort of conversation or phrase can also be not just to you but to her/him/them…even that!

Here are some other ways to convey this:

  • I can relate to you: I can completely understand what you are going through or what you are saying. I have been in that same situation and I want to show you that through the way that I relate to you.
  • I hear you: It’s another way of saying that you understand and can relate to that person. It means that you hear them loud and clear because you have been in that very situation or position.
  • I get that: You are offering your understanding and letting them know that you get it. You have been there and you get what it’s like, and sometimes that’s all you need to hear. The important thing is to follow up with a reason! These phrases are just the first part.

The important thing is to follow up with an actual reason though.

These phrases are just the first part, but the rest matters too.

Showing empathy must always be sincere or else it comes off as all wrong–and then your intention or how genuine you are is questioned.

Takeaway

These phrases are all great to show empathy.

Empathy is connection.

Be sure to share WHY you identify with the person because that matters too.

It’s essentially two parts–the phrase and the reason, and they both matter greatly.

If you can keep this in mind and communicate it properly, then you can show it in the most sincere and appropriate way.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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